We’ve all heard tales about trailblazers in their field and those who dared to be different, and we’ve heard them to such a degree that we almost feel detached from them. The’re different beings, we accidentally begin to believe. What Tiger Woods has done is extraordinary, but he started playing golf at three. The next time someone says something like that say two words: Bill Rusell. Bill Russell is, some would argue, one of the best basketball players of all-time. When they talk about the best athletes of all time, they say: “He changed the way the game was played.” Boring right? Well, in a recent interview with the elistist bryant bumble, Rusell talked about his first game for the University of San Francisco. He talked about how an opponent came down the lane, and Rusell blocked his shot.
“The hell you do that for?” his coach asked. “We don’t play defense like that. A defender never leaves his feet.” Rusell left the exchange at that. The viewer was left with the assumption that there was no rule against blocking a shot. It just wasn’t done in those days. Rusell went on to say that he decided that he was just going to continue playing basketball the only way he knew how. This rebellious idea of his led to two national championships for the University of San Francisco, and ten NBA championships with the Celtics. He did things differently, and he stuck to those principles when those “in charge” questioned his ideas. His Boston Celtic coach Red Auerbach was a little more understanding when confronted with Rusell’s style of play. He confessed:
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but you keep doing it, and we’ll model our gameplan around it.”
If the rest of us were as honest as Auerbach when we are in the midst of brilliance, think about how many game changers there might be in this world.