Celtics legend Bill Russell turns 80 years old

Celtics legend Bill Russell turns 80 years old
February 12, 2014, 1:30 pm
Share This Post

Bill Russell turned 80 years old today. I repeat: 80 years old. That’s impressive enough on the surface, but for a little more perspective, how about this?
 
Russell is the same age now that Tom Brady will be in 2057.
 
I use Brady as an example because he’s the closest thing this city has to Bill Russell right now. Athletically speaking, he’s of that ilk. An all-time legend. Now seriously.
 
Imagine 80-year-old Tom Brady. Bald. Wrinkled. Wearing thick glasses, with thicker patches of gray hair growing out of his ears. Imagine him shuffling around Beverly Hills with 77-year-old Gisele on his arm. Being honored during the coin toss at Super Bowl 91 in Boston. Just picture 2057 in general. Or at least try. I’m coming up empty. It’s just so far away.
 
But that’s Tom Brady at 80 — in 2057. That’s how long Bill Russell has been around. That’s the magnitude of the life that he’s lived, and is still living with great honor.
 
And it’s been a great honor to watch him live it.
 
Even for those of us who never saw him play. Even for those who only know him as a much older man. Russell’s greatness has transcended generations, and will continue to do so forever. That’s pretty cool. That’s well deserved. Not only for what he did on the court, but also for everything else — most notably, his role in the civil rights movement.
 
As we all know, Russell isn’t merely a historic basketball player, he’s straight up historic. His legacy extends so far beyond anything he accomplished on the court.
 
But sports is what made that possible. Sports is what I’m paid to write about in this space. Sports is Bill Russell. Bill Russell is sports. He’s basketball. He’s the Celtics. He’s Boston. And like I already said, he will never be forgotten. He will be celebrated forever.
 
But the only thing better than celebrating him, is celebrating with him.
 
So let’s all take a second and wish the man, Bill Russell, a Happy 80th birthday.
 
And then another five minutes and 18 seconds to soak in his greatness.


 
Follow me on Twitter: @rich_levine