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Just Bill

Many a person we could call a hero but
have to clarify or restrict the word
but Bill Russell was always “Bill”
and “Bill” was good enough

The NCAA titles the NBA champions
rings for each finger plus one
defensive standard for centers
consummate team player

But what equally gains my respect
is his human rights advocacy
put on clinics for children in the South
heard Doctor King’s great speech

Use his feet and voice to oppose
segregation in restaurants
and in the public schools
incurring heated opposition

Like Nat King Cole in the Hancock Park
Russell broke a color line in housing
and always fixed on doing what was right
not what was the most popular

And yes cost was paid when he his house
was vandalized and with fans who
treated him like a pariah
but his dignity was ever intact

So for the man whose championship success outpaced any other player
the first black head coach
and the first to coach to a NBA title

Thank you Bill for being who you were
your grace and style was perfect for
the city of Boston and you made
it acceptable to be a jock and an activist

Still Bill
Always Bill
And Bill was enough
Written by JAZZMANOR
Published
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