The Gonz Show: Bill Russell

With some all-star help, the Celtics legend is launching an über–fantasy camp—and disappointing John Gonzalez by not mounting a comeback.

Do you get back to Boston much? Because I bet the Celtics would put you on the roster right now.
I don’t think they could afford me. [Laughs.] With the salary cap today, forget it.

But you’re not ruling it out, right? Don’t rule it out, Bill.
I haven’t played a single game since I retired. I’ve played a lot of games in my life, and I think that’s sufficient. When I left, that was my decision, and I think it was a good one.

Tell me about the camp you’re holding in Las Vegas in October.
We limit the number of campers, so you won’t be part of a mob scene. You’ll be part of an intimate group—coaching and playing and talking about basketball. The campers, I don’t think they’ll ever have a chance to do this kind of thing again.

A bunch of NBA greats will be there—Larry, Dr. J, Magic, Kareem. They’re all one-name guys. Why didn’t you end up as a one-name guy?
My mother demanded that I never have a nickname. I was never called Bill until I was a sophomore in college. I grew up in World War II Louisiana. A lot of people at that time, they were reluctant to call any of us by our real name. They would say, “This is what we’ll call you,” and it was never nice. My mother bristled at that.

Next time you see NBA commissioner David Stern, can you dribble him around a bit? Just to let him know Celts fans are not pleased about the way things are going.
I don’t see why they’re angry at David. You have a team. That’s your team. Support it. That’s an important bond between fans and the team. When times are bad, you still have to try to help by not being angry. I don’t understand that. Anger is one thing that shortens your life.

Really? Then I’m in a lot of trouble, Bill. I get angry all the time. I call it Tuesday.
You’re crazy, you know that?

Yes, yes, I am. Anyway, Bill, thanks for this.
As we say in Star Trek, live long and prosper.