Grant Williams: Bill Russell’s prediction will drive 2022-23 Celtics originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
In the wake of the basketball community’s loss of Bill Russell, members of the Boston Celtics family have been paying tribute to the legend through social media posts as well as various comments on television.
Grant Williams was among the many players to honor Russell on Twitter on Sunday.
Williams added to his social media post Monday night by appearing on NBC Sports Boston’s special, “Remembering Bill Russell.”
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During his interview, Williams was asked about Bill Russell’s tweet from July 17, in which the Celtics legend predicted Boston will return to the NBA Finals in 2023 to win the organization’s 18th championship.
“It’s something that has to drive us,” Williams said of Russell’s prediction. “Not only the fact that we lost last season, but it’s something that is an honor to him. Honestly, looking to make what he said in a simple tweet come to fruition and dedicating this season to him.”
Russell was one of the greatest NBA players in history, winning 11 NBA championships (the most of all time) during his 13 seasons with the Celtics. He was also the first Black head coach in NBA history.
Russell used his platform for good and was a Civil Rights trailblazer throughout his life. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963 and was outspoken against the racism he faced from the NBA and its fans during his career. For his incredible efforts towards equality, President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
“Not only was he the greatest winner ever in the history of our sport, but he was the person who took all of the beatings and, pardon my French, the hell for us to even be here,” Williams commented.
“We need to look at our jersey and say thank you every single night that Bill Russell helped us to be in the position that we are in. And, hopefully, continue to live his legacy through the championships.”
The Hall of Famer helped set the winning standard in Boston. Before Russell joined the Celtics in 1956, the organization had not won a championship. Since then, Boston has raised 17 championship banners to the rafters, including the 11 titles that Russell won.
With Russell’s memory in the hearts and minds of all Celtics players, Boston will fight to honor the late basketball legend by winning the 2023 NBA Finals.