Even before Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and LeBron James, Bill Russell was one of the most decorated basketball players of all time and played for the Boston Celtics. He has won 11 NBA championships, so he has 11 rings.
The documentary Bill Russell: Legend on Netflix is about Bill’s life. In the two-part docuseries, which is now available to stream, two well-known people tell the story of the late, legendary basketball player who paved the way on the court.
Review of the movie on Netflix Bill Russell Legend
Netflix has a lot of great sports documentaries, and this week, one of the best of them comes to the site: a two-part film from Sam Pollard, the brilliant director of “MLK/FBI” and the co-director of “Mr. Soul!” The historian focuses on one of the most important sports leaders of the 20th century: a man who changed basketball for good and gave Boston a winning culture that has made the Celtics legendary.
People often think of Bill Russell as one of the NBA’s “Mount Rushmore” players, but “Bill Russell: Legend” also shows how important he was as a symbol of the civil rights movement. The two-part documentary looks at the racism he faced while competing for championships and how important equality was to the guy who stood with Muhammad Ali to protest the war and backed Colin Kaepernick when he took a knee.
On the court, Bill Russell was a force to be reckoned with. Off the court, Bill Russell was a force in the fight for human rights.
Bill Russell: Legend tells the remarkable story of this NBA superstar and civil rights icon. Now on Netflix. pic.twitter.com/auoZstKZJn
— Netflix (@netflix) February 8, 2023
The 200 minutes of “Bill Russell: Legendary” may seem long to people who aren’t fans, but Pollard seems to have known that a man as big as Bill Russell—and I don’t just mean physically—would need more than one long documentary.
Pollard did a great job putting together “Bill Russell: Legend.” He moved smoothly from Russell’s achievements on the court to stories about his life away from the court, with Jeffrey Wright reading parts of Russell’s memoirs.
Russell, who died just last year, became an outspoken activist over the course of his life, but it’s amazing how innovative he was for a mostly white sport at the time he changed it. Russell’s game showed that he was interested in body angles, so I was intrigued by stories about how, as a child, he tried to memorize Michelangelo’s paintings in library books. Then he tried to make copies of them at home.
He could tell where his opponent was going with the ball by looking at their body. Pollard’s movie has a lot of old game videos, and it’s crazy to see how Russell seems to be playing a different game than everyone else.
He was beating everyone’s expectations, but because he came late to the game, he couldn’t get the credit he deserved even though he led the San Francisco Dons to two consecutive NCAA championships, his white teammates were always praised.
The Boston sports media never seemed to give Russell enough credit, even though the Celtics had a great run during Russell’s 13-year career and won 11 NBA titles in a row, which will never happen again. He was the first African-American NBA star, and he never forgot how important that was.
“Bill Russell: Legend” includes interviews with Chris Paul, Steph Curry, Isaiah Thomas, Jalen Rose, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and others who played basketball after him. Shaquille O’Neal said in a joke that Russell should get some of every big man’s pay because they owe him so much. You may also like Is Stallone In Creed 3: Does Creed 3 Include Sylvester Stallone? Is Rocky Death Guaranteed? and The Boys Season 4: Season 4 Cast, Release Date, And Story
Even though “Bill Russell: Legend” doesn’t always have a lot to say about the NBA, the parts about Bill Russell’s life off the court are very interesting. Pollard also talked to Russell’s daughter and former Boston teammates, who called him “Russell the man” instead of “Russell the legend” before Russell died.
Bill Russell thought he had to look out for his people the same way he did for his teammates. In the movie, someone says, “He knew the racial weight on his shoulders,” and remembering how much he had to go through makes his legacy stronger. He marched with MLK when he wasn’t dunking on his opponent.
I learned from the movie “Bill Russell: Legend” that this complicated sports figure can’t be summed up in just one word. He was definitely a great athlete, but he was also a thinker, a trailblazer, and sometimes a difficult coworker.
The best documentaries tell things about their subject that even fans didn’t know. This gives the subject more depth than a highlight reel could. Before this project, I had a lot of respect for what Bill Russell had done for the NBA. I now understand what he did for history.
How did Bill Russell become so good?
Before Bill Russell and after Bill Russell are the only two times in NBA history, in the middle of the 1950s, nearly ten years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, he started playing himself. With all due respect to George Mikan and Bob Cousy, Russell was the league’s first truly great star of the modern era.
Russell’s career began during the turbulent civil rights movement of the 1960s. At great personal and financial risk, he spoke out against racism and oppression. He was the best winner in professional team sports in the United States, which helped. Russell had a 13-year career and won 11 championships. He won two championships as both a player and a coach. He was also the first Black coach in the NBA.
Or, to put it another way, Russell beats them all when it comes to sports talk that is short and clears the air. Jordan, Wilt, Kareem, and LeBron? Bill Russell: Legend, a new two-part Netflix documentary by Sam Pollard and Jalen Rose, is very interesting. Jalen Rose says that Russell has more rings than fingers. You can check How Old Was Sylvester Stallone In The First Rocky Movie?and Blythe Danner: In Which Movies Did She Performed?
Russell was a good lawyer, but Pollard’s insightful analysis hit close to home because he was smart and complicated outside of court. Interesting and fun to think about. Russell had a sense of humor, which almost everyone who met him would tell you. He also had a cute cackle of a laugh, even though his seriousness could be intimidating—he didn’t take any jokes.
Pollard, one of our most prolific filmmakers, has been making movies about the lives of black people in the United States for fifty years. He was in charge of editing the important hip-hop documentary Style Wars. He cut down six movies for Spike Lee, one of which was the great documentary 4 Little Girls.
Pollard, who has also made great documentaries about Martin Luther King Jr., Sammy Davis Jr., Arthur Ashe, and August Wilson, tells a smart, nuanced story about Russell’s amazing career and how it changed American sports culture. Bill Russell: Legend says that the best team player in the history of team sports was also, perhaps, the only one who played for himself.