The fascinating athlete, Bill Russell, is commonly labeled only as a sports role model. His admirable qualities, however, stretch far beyond sports. He was one of the few that struggled to pave the path for black NBA players, yet he was the first to open the Iron Gate for NBA coaching. In addition, he has offered his wise influence in several controversial incidents in time. The basketball legend, Bill Russell, is not only a hero for aspiring athletes, but also an inspiration for various social groups.
It was February 12, 1934, that William Felton Russell first entered into his harsh world. He lived with his parents and brother in Monroe Louisiana. "Monroe was a typical small town in the "Deep South" with racial segregation." (Daniel, W.) It was the daily routine, for Bill, to have to deal with discrimination. Surely it was not an easy task to be an African-American just trying to live life in the South. Yet much later in life would Bill would be noted, " Russell's experiences with discrimination as a young child helped make him assertive about African - American rights as an adult." (Biography) Fortunately Bill and his family were slightly able to escape these hardships. They traveled many miles to the West. They ended up in Oakland California in 1943, when Bill was nine years old. Being the time era that it was, the prejudices, held by society against blacks, were not exactly erased by simply moving from a state. However,.
the benefit of the move was that the discrimination was lessened by a vast degree. The Russell family was able to settle down in the integrated projects in town. This was definitely a difference from their hometown Monroe. They now actually lived in the same vicinity as the whites, or at this time, the majority.
Three years after the move from Louisiana, Bill suffered one of the greatest losses ever, his mother. "In 1946, she caught a rare case of the flu.