RUSSELL'S REVENGE -- History of the NBA Finals Part 19

1968

It is here that Bill Russell becomes Jackie Brown (1997).

When Martin Luther King Jr. was shot, the stars of our hubs here...were crushed.

King had been trying to preach to the wider world...what Auerbach and Russell had been doing together since 1957.

And look what happened.

Some small town white piece of shit assumed that the Auerbach/Russell type...rather then the Kerner type...was to blame for his fucked up life situation.

You didn't have to be a genius in the least to make the connection between real life and the NBA.

Particularly if you were Bill Russell.

For to understand Bill Russell, is to understand Jackie Brown (1997).

Jackie will be Bill Russell, putting the smack down on all opposition, because he knows that the same people have killed Martin Luther Beaumont...for the same things that Jackie Russell here is guilty of...creative conservatism. 

The signs were all there before Martin Luther King's murder, which doesn't happen until this year's playoffs.

For Russell didn't need this incident in order to be hit with mind games.

Do you remember Joe Gilliam?

Gilliam was a black quarterback who was made to feel like an Uncle Tom in the wake of trying to get playing time in the NFL, which people all over the country were starting to mock.

Well the ABA had formed, George Mikan the president, and RICK BARRY would leave the San Francisco Warriors to go to the Oakland team -- the Oaks.

He did so primarily because he talked things over with his brother-in-law who OWNED THE OAKS!!!!

And thus the ABA would have at least a tiny shred of importance.

The ABA unfortunately was a big fucking lie.

The ABA is proof that it's not about race, but about willingness to turn on the artist.

In the midst of everything that was happening, someone, particularly a marketing agent who was African-American, went back to the old neighborhood in his suit and nice car, and was called a "sell-out".

This is my only explanation for how they knew of the one way left they could mind-fuck Bill Russell at this point -- make him feel like a traitor to his race.

Some guy who was made to feel like an "Uncle Tom" himself out there knew that Russell would not be able to enjoy himself in any way while sitting in Boston and winning...when others were "doing something about it" from a realm outside the league.

The ABA didn't have to do anything to watch this happen for them, because the public immediately identified them as the civil rights league from the start.

Not the minor leagues.

For the ABA not only accepted people of all shades willingly and openly, but they could steal NBA players EASILY.

Why?

Remember Maurice Clarett?

What was his whole problem, you remember? He wanted to join the NFL as soon as possible.

He wins a national title his freshman year at Ohio State, and wants to go pro before getting injured or being hit with a stupid charge, or whatever.

They say no. We can't draft you until after your junior year.

Well the NBA back then would not take anybody who had not graduated from a four-year university.

Biased!

But this was how they assured that their farm systems would be taken care of.

Colleges were the minor leagues of the NBA.

College basketball teams...were pretty much NBA properties because most of these colleges would never get these players to bust their asses for them unless they thought they needed it to show they could go pro.

This was unfortunately, unconstitutional.

And the NBA and NCAAs both knew it.

This meant that they wouldn't be able to challenge any league in court that should happen to spring up and offer comparable opportunities...to kids of all ages.

And so the NBA and NCAA would be ANGRY AS HELL, for they were getting Pat Riley, Doug Moe, Larry Brown, Louie Dampier, all the guys who kicked everyone's ass for one year the way Clarett did.

And so as other people took the credit for being tough on the system while Russell faced mediocrity...before possible assassination attempts...he would have to kick the world's ass on the basketball court during the 1967-1968 season.

So let's look at the Celtics.

Russell, still player coach.

Satch Sanders the new Luscutoff, rebounder.

Sam Jones

Don Nelson

Larry Siegfried

John Havlicek.

They only win 54 games while Philadelphia has 62, the best record in the league again.

Detroit and Baltimore would be entertained by the additions of Dave Bing and Earl the Pearl Monroe.

Detroit got Bing, and he became the top scorer in the league, eclipsing Baylor and Chamberlain, with Monroe coming in fourth.

Seattle Supersonics and San Diego Clippers would be expansion franchises, with Seattle making Walt Hazzard from UCLA their franchise centerpiece. He would be the 7th highest scorer this year.

It would be the first year that EVERYBODY HAS TO PLAY IN THE FIRST ROUND.

See?

Ordell.

It's Russell after all who has to play and work those extra games, not the ones in charge.

But Boston edges Bing and Detroit 4-2, and Philadelphia beats New York 4-2.

Boston and Philadelphia again, the Celtics travelling to the hostile Spectrum.

Game 1 Boston would roll 127-118.

But Games 2, 3 and 4 were Philadelphia victories, with the Celtics closest effort having them lose by five.

Chamberlain's guys now led 3-1, one win from the Finals and beating Boston yet again.

It is then that Russell...Pam Griers their asses.

Russell and Havlicek lead the way.

The Celtics in three straight big wins, take this series 4-3.

Look at that Philadelphia crowd.

They can't believe it.

The Celtics are moving on to the NBA Finals yet again.

Bill Russell becomes the first black head coach to take their team to the championship round of a sport, and he's only been one for two seasons.

-------------------------------

Meanwhile in the West, things looked good for the Lakers against the Bulls in their second season with Chicago.

The Bulls sucked, and the Lakers were moving on.

San Francisco awaited, who had just won another blood match with St. Louis 4-2.

With only Nate Thurmond to contend with Baylor and West, Lakers sweep them.

It's Lakers vs. Celtics again.

They trade shots through four games.

The fifth game in Boston was Elgin Baylor's finest hour, as they go to overtime like in the old days, and thus face going up 3-2 for a trip back home.

But the Celtics pull it out, 120-117.

And thus when they go back to Los Angeles, the Celtics rout them.

The Boston Celtics are the 1968 NBA World Champions!

Bill Russell brings the dynasty back to where it belongs, but they're aging.

It didn't look at all as if...they could do it again...

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Tom T profile image

Tom T 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

Bill Russel and John Havlicek are 2 of my all time favorites. Thanks for the memories.

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