Thursday, November 10th, 2011 at 4:40 pm  |  14 responses

Bill Russell Critical of ‘Hard-Liners’ in NBA Labor Dispute

Bill Russell is no fan of hardliners — be they owners, union members, or players themselves — in this ongoing NBA lockout mess. He tells CBS Sports that he hopes reason eventually prevails: “As a very interested bystander, I just hope they get a deal,’ [Hall of Famer Bill Russell said]. ‘And it will not come from the hard-liners on either side. I think they all know that. I have this theory that hard-liners are like true believers. And true believers think that any compromise is a retreat. And moving forward, that doesn’t cut it.’ Russell’s words carry weight – and not just because he is the most decorated champion in NBA history. The former Celtics’ star was among a group of 20 All-Stars who threatened to boycott the 1964 All-Star Game in Boston unless the NBA recognized the newly formed players’ union. ‘Basically I was one of those guys that helped get the players’ association started,’ Russell said. ‘And they’ve done wonderful things. I knew David Stern before he was commissioner, when he was associate attorney for the NBA. And if I remember correctly, he said, ‘I do not consider the players’ association my adversaries. They’re my business partners.’ ‘That’s where, a lot of the things that David has done — and I’ve known him up close — have been beneficial for both sides,’ Russell said … Russell said both sides ‘have their points,’ but he views the key stumbling blocks as owners as trying to ‘protect themselves from the owners’ and a battle between ‘the small-market teams and the big-market teams. The players want their fair share of the business and the small-market owners don’t want to keep losing money,’ Russell said. Russell said he hasn’t kept up with the details of the negotiation, but cautioned both sides that there’s ‘more to the agreement than just money.’”

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  • http://twitter.com/yo_mister Jesse

    Russell is the man. Currently reading The Rivalry about him and Wilt, and also playing as the old Celtics in 2k12.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    When a wise man speaks, you listen.

  • Heals

    Ladies and gentlemen this is how to articulate a point. Simple, easy to understand and delivered with precision…

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Bill Russell forever kickin’ knowledge

  • Hobbes

    The season is about to be saved.

  • MikeC.

    And he said all that while rocking an awesome old guy beard.

  • mdshuai33

    When you know how to win, you know how to win; on and off the court.

  • BBaller


  • hushabomb

    Maybe you should get him and other legends in the negotiating room and settle this once and for all. Cos these current players and owners don’t have a clue

  • anthony y


  • Riggs

    Bill Russell for all future negotiations, and i don’t mean just basketball. Hostage situation? someone get Bill Russell on the phone.

  • EtheKnickFan

    Words delivered by a TRUE G.O.A.T champion. A collective hush should come over the crowd of owners/players. Who dares dispute a man who has more chip rings than fingers? Champ has an NBA champion toe ring, he MUST be heard.

  • Nguyen-Luan

    Get Bill Russell and Kenny “The Jet” Smith over there.

  • BostonBaller

    When a true Legend drops knowledge no one hates and ALL will listen. He was indeed one of the players to “start” the players’ association. His name alone commands attention. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying his company a couple of times and on one such occasion he did not utter one word about basketball for the two plus hours. Everything was about life and laughter. When asked, he shared his opinions on war, poverty, economics, education, etc etc and when someone was clueless enough to bring up hoops he just gave that classic laugh and moved on….. Class act.