Man of many talents

Bill Russell is honored as a legend in his Netflix documentary



Bill Russel was known for his skill on the court resulting in 11 NBA championships.

By Jacey Sola

Bill Russell is known as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He currently holds the record for the NBA championships at 11 with the Boston Celtics. His legendary life and career were commemorated in the Netflix Documentary “Bill Russell: Legend,” which released on Feb. 8, a little over six months after his death on July 31, 2022.

The documentary highlighted the best moments of Bill Russell’s career, such as the championships he has won against powerful teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers lead by all-time great, Wilt Chamberlain, and the Los Angeles Lakers with legendary guard, Jerry West.

It also highlighted his life outside of basketball. Throughout his life, Russell had been a victim of racism and was discriminated against on and off of the court.

Being one of the first Black NBA players, he did not receive the same treatment as white players. His successes and accomplishments were often downplayed or outright ignored. Russell devoted his life combating against racism by joining in the Civil Rights Movement and even marched with Martin Luther King Jr. It was great to see Russell not only as a basketball player but an activist and warrior for Civil Rights and equality.

It was very interesting and exciting to see the intense rivalry between Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, which was heavily emphasized in the documentary. Chamberlain, also considered one of the greatest basketball players and known for his scoring record of 100 points in a single game, was truly Russell’s greatest opponent. The documentary did a great job of portraying their relationship.

Hearing Russell’s thoughts on important events in his life from his memoir, “Second Wind,” was impactful. The documentary used excerpts from this memoir and included them in many of the scenes of footage taken during his games. 

Many famous basketball players and figures joined in the documentary to speak about Russell, including Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Larry Bird, Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson. All of which had great words to say about legend Bill Russell.

The pacing of the documentary was pretty quick as it covered almost the entire Bill Russell’s life in just two episodes, each being just over an hour and a half long. However, each event was portrayed so clearly with important details. The documentary did not slow down at any points and it remained interesting all the way through.

As for structure and format, it was very similar to Michael Jordan’s documentary, “The Last Dance.” It started with Russell’s initial introduction into the world of basketball during his childhood and high school years and ended with his retirement and death. It also featured many clips from the games he played during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. 

All in all, “Bill Russell: Legend,” was very enjoyable and is a must-watch for basketball fans worldwide. While basketball legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Lebron James get all the spotlight and attention, it was great to watch Russell, who has been put under the radar and almost forgotten in today’s era of basketball. The way the defense is played and basketball in general would never be the same without him. 

The documentary did him justice and Russell was truly a legend in life.