A Bill Russell Story – ‘That Guy’€™s A Loser, That Guy’€™s A Loser And That Guy’™s A Loser’

Bill Russell and Kenny Smith

A Bill Russell Story – ‘That Guy’€™s A Loser, That Guy’€™s A Loser And That Guy’€™s A Loser’


Most of us are too young to have seen Bill Russell, the 11-time NBA champion, play in the league. But we all know a lot about his career and his 11 championships.

Apparently, Bill Russell does not like to talk to many people. Charles Barkley once said:

‘€œHe don’€™t talk to many people, so if you get on the list, it’€™s pretty cool.’€


Kenny Smith is on that list. Bill Russell drafted him and became his mentor, so let’s check out Kenny Smith’s amazing story about Bill Russell.

‘€œI was his first-ever draft pick, €œI was overwhelmed meeting him. I didn’€™t know what to say, I didn’€™t know whether to call him ‘€˜Coach Russell,’€™ ‘€˜Bill,’€™ or ‘€˜Mr. Russell,’€™ and then my assistant coach was Willis Reed. I was in heaven. He taught me what teamwork was all about, regardless of winning and losing. Hœis ability to take a basketball moment and relate it to a lifetime experience. Something that my teammates always thought was going to be a punishment for me — sitting next to coach Russell on the team bus — actually turned out to be the best moment of my life.’€

One time I asked him: “€˜Why’€™ve I got to sit beside you?” And Bill said, ‘€˜Because that guy’€™s a loser, that guy’€™s a loser, that guy’€™s a loser, and I don’€™t want you sitting with them. œI sat next to him, on a bus ride or a plane ride, four hours a day. And if I went to sleep, he’€™d nudge me and go, ‘€˜Sleep nights, young fella. Listen to what I’€™m saying.’€™ And I listened to all those stories. It’€™s a great feeling to know I was part of that. Not being Satch Sanders or Tommy Heinsohn or any other great players who played with him, I feel like I’€™m one of those.’€

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