Bill Russell — the 11-time NBA champion who was the anchor and heart of a Boston Celtics team that dominated an era — spent a brief time in the hospital Saturday with a heart scare.
Russell, 84, was rushed to the hospital Friday night with what was thought to be a heart attack or other heart issue, something first reported by TMZ. Representatives of Russell later said the issue was dehydration.
Russell was out of the hospital a few hours later and tweeted this out.
Thank you everyone for the kind thoughts, yes I was taken to the hospital last night & as my wife likes to remind me I don’t drink enough. On my way home & as most my friends know I don’t have a heart to give me trouble @NBA@celtics@TMZ@TMZLive@NBAonTNT@MSNBC@YahooSports
Russell’s name comes up in any serious conversation for greatest player of all-time, starting with those 11 rings. However, that is just a part of what he did on the court. He was a defensive force that changed the game with his shot blocking — nobody had done that aggressively or above the rim before. His legendary competitive focus led Russell to be a five-time MVP, an 11-time All-NBA player, a 12-time All-Star, a Hall of Famer, and maybe the greatest Celtic ever.
Yet his basketball accomplishments were not as significant as what he did off the court.
Russell battled racism his entire career. It started when he led the University of San Francisco toback-to-back NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956 — he was the first black man to captain and lead a team to college titles (he and future Celtic and Hall of Famer K.C. Jones were on that team, one light years ahead of the competition at the time). Russell entered the NBA during an era when black athletes were expected to look the other way at racism — something Russell refused to do. Often on road trips, Russell and his fellow African-American teammates had to stay in a different hotel than his white teammates. Russell was not afraid to call it out.
President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest honor an American civilian can receive). Boston put a statue up of Russell in City Hall Plaza in 2011
Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma trolling now in ad for Wish shopping app
For three seasons, Briante Weber has bounced around the fringes of the NBA. The defensive-minded point guard has played in short stints (often 10-day contracts) for the Grizzlies, Heat, Warriors, Hornets, and last season he got in 13 games for the Rockets (plus five in Memphis). He’s spent most of his career in the G-League, working for his chance to get in the door.
Miami is bringing him into training camp, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Guard Briante Weber has agreed to a partially guaranteed deal to return to the Miami Heat, league sources tell Yahoo.
There is roster space in Miami if Webber blows them away. Miami has 12 fully guaranteed roster spots and, with Webber, two partially-guaranteed deals (Malik Newman, who was undrafted out of Kansas, is the other).
Rather than a potential rebuild — or another “Russell Westbrook vs. The World” season — the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the big winners of the off-season when Paul George agreed to re-sign with the team. They also moved on from Carmelo Anthony, will get Andre Roberson back from injury, and added Dennis Schroder to give them a shot creator off the bench.
“I’m very, very excited. Paul has been an unbelievable teammate, obviously a great friend. I’m very, very excited that he is back and we’re ready to make some noise. We are just going to take it one day at a time. I think our team has a lot of great, young talent. We have one goal now and that is winning a championship.”
While it’s hard to envision the Thunder reaching that goal (as constructed), the Thunder could well be the three or four seed in the West and have home court in the first round of the playoffs. While the margin for error in the West will be minuscule (with 12 teams having a shot at the eight playoff spots), with the Thunder’s strong top-10 defense and two stars who can take over games nightly, they should be one of the more consistent regular season teams in the West.
Either way, the Thunder are a lot more interesting with George than without. It’s going to be a good season for the Thunder.
PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony officially a Houston Rocket now — this can work
Did the Houston Rockets get better this summer? The conventional wisdom is no, they will miss the switchable defense and versatility of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute against the NBA’s other elite teams.
But with Carmelo Anthony officially signing with the Rockets on Monday, don’t expect a big step back, something I cover in this latest PBT Extra.
The Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA last season (almost tied with the Warriors) and ‘Melo can enhance that — he can still punish switches in the post, he has a catch-and-shoot game, and while he may not be as efficient as he once was, the man can get buckets. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, expect Mike D’Antoni to find him minutes while Chris Paul and James Harden rest where he can be an offensive focal point.