BILL RUSSELL was known for becoming the first Black head coach in the National Basketball Association’s history – but is remembered as one of the greatest athletes and leaders in sports history and a champion for civil change. He stood beside Martin Luther King, Jr. during his “I have a dream” speech in Washington and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. After his death at the age of 88 this week, President Biden praised him for his lifelong work in civil rights and athletics.
“Bill Russell is one of the greatest athletes in our history – an all-time champion of champions, and a good man and great American who did everything he could to deliver the promise of America for all Americans,” Biden said.
He joined Marty in 2001 to discuss his career and growing up in the segregated south. We revisit that interview from the Radio Times archives this week.