For those of us who were Boston sports fans in our childhood while growing up in the 1960s, there was only one real hero — and that was Bill Russell.
With 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons, the Celtics and Bill Russell were the epitome of success, especially in comparison to the other Boston sports teams of that era.
However, even at our young age, there was something about Bill Russell that we recognized as transcending the typical athlete of that period. We recall that when he published his autobiographical memoir in the mid-60s, Go Up for Glory, we eagerly bought the paperback. It was one of the few (if any) books that we read outside of our required school reading.
We knew instinctively, even at our young age, that if Bill Russell had something to say, it would be important and would be told in a straightforward and honest way that often was lacking in the turbulent era that was the 1960s.
The hippies proclaimed, “Don’t trust anyone over the age of 30,” but that did not apply to Bill Russell, who won his final NBA title as the Celtics’ player-coach in 1969 at the age of 35. Bill Russell’s honesty and integrity were unquestioned.
To paraphrase a popular TV commercial, “When Bill Russell spoke, people listened.”
Bill Russell was as elegant and graceful in his demeanor off the court as he was in his athleticism on the court. Just as his emphasis on defense, rebounding, and leading the fast break not only revolutionized the game of basketball, but also set the standard for the definition of selflessness and the concept of a team player, so too, did his truthful outspokenness on the subject of racism in America set a new standard in the sports world for elevating our national conversation about race and other social topics.
As we grew into adulthood, if we were hanging out with friends, whenever we might be playing the, “If you could have dinner with anyone famous, who would it be?” game, our answer always would be, “Bill Russell.”
Bill Russell will be missed, both in the world of sports and in the realm of life.
Gina Raimondo for President
This past week, Congress finally passed the CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives for the Production of Semiconductors) and Science Act, legislation that will provide $280 billion in federal funding to ensure that the making of semiconductors, which are crucial to every aspect of our everyday life, will be manufactured here in America.
It is estimated that only 12 percent of the computer chips that are essential to the products that are sold in America, including our defense industry, actually are made in America.
Ominously, the largest maker of computer chips in the world is the Taiwan Semiconductor Company, which has its largest manufacturing plant in its home country of Taiwan — a nation that could be overrun by mainland China in a matter of days.
The CHIPS Act overcame opposition from both progressives and conservatives in the House and Senate thanks largely to the tireless efforts of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the former governor of Rhode Island. Raimondo was forceful, eloquent, and politically savvy in her pitch to legislators on all sides of the political spectrum to garner support for the legislation.
Her efforts almost single-handedly saved the bill from defeat.
Raimondo graduated from Harvard and then went to Yale Law School. She also was a Rhodes Scholar and ran her own venture capital firm before running for State Treasurer and then Governor of Rhode Island.
Yet despite her Ivy League education, Raimondo grew up in a working class family in Rhode Island. She never had anything handed to her and worked hard for her success in life.
Gina Raimondo often is described as a centrist Democrat. When (hopefully) Joe Biden announces that he will not be running for re-election, there is no one on the Democratic side who would be better suited to running for President than Gina Raimondo.
Gina Raimondo is smart, articulate, and can speak the language of ordinary Americans. In short, she is a star among a bunch of also-rans.