We hung out on the streets, played stickball, and did all of the things that other kids did.
That seemed to be the case with most of the teams based in the smaller towns – the fans were more rabid, and they wanted to literally kill the opposition.
The NBA wasn’t a big deal at that time, so it wasn’t really in my career plans.
There were riots in just about every game we played with Syracuse.
We had a strong relationship with Walter Brown, and felt that he was the best owner in the league.
Race wasn’t an issue. My family was French, but Yorkville was a melting pot of races and cultures.
French was my first language.
I won the city scoring championship as a senior.
My biggest win was getting the meal money bumped from $5 to $7.
I was the original socially depraved shy ghetto kid.
Russell joined the team in December, 1956, following the Olympics.
You have to remember that coaching wasn’t sophisticated back then – you didn’t have the camps, clinics and all the technical advances that are available today – so from that standpoint, playing with a cast on my arm was a fortunate event in my life.
The MVP award was very satisfying in terms of personal accomplishments, but the championship was the most important thing of all.
But as a coach I wanted to keep things from being too complicated.
I grew up in the heart of the Depression.