11 Lessons in Leadership from the Greatest Winner in the 20th Century

The 2016 NBA championship has concluded and the Cleveland Cavaliers have been able to bring home a “best of category” for the 1st time in sports in five decades. The Minnesota Lynx are the current WNBA champions.

Russell Rules This book was written by a professional who is the Greatest Team Champion in the 20th Century in ALL sports.

The messages are all about: Team, Leadership and Accountability


Sports have a certain effect on people everywhere in the world. This effect can include excitement and enjoyment when our team wins, and frustration and disappointment if the outcome is not what we hoped for.

Bill Russell became a sports icon with reason. He is an original, with more championships than any other team player as evidenced by his recognition in being named the 20th century’s greatest team player by Sports Illustrated and HBO called him the greatest winner in the 20th century. He was the 1st African American to coach a professional sports team and won two championships as a player/coach without even an assistant coach. He won championships in the NCAA, the Olympics and an NBA championship  all in the same year (1956).

The book, RUSSELL RULES is a collection of basketball and personal examples from Russell’s career. The balance between sports, business and personal integrity is clear, easy to follow and is genuinely interesting, whether one likes sports or not.

The 11 lessons address commitment, team decision processes, accountability, change, discipline, the need for the desire to win and a number of how-to business examples. These lessons include easy to follow messages on ego management, active listening, setting standards and meeting them, seeking and encouraging perfection, building mutual trust, positive control, using imagination to to enhance performance, leadership by establishing and reinforcing discipline, as well as earned delegation and finally, always looking for the win, whatever the odds.

Russell has not been an active part of the Celtics in recent years, but in a 2008 televised interview with the current center, Kevin Garnett, one could hear that his public words of counsel and planning reflected what must have been said in private between the two men of different generations. Russell expressed that he felt the current Celtic team could win two or three championships if they played as a team. Those exchanges were meaningful to me as part of team, leadership and accountability in every day examples of life.

On a related note (after this book was written), in February of 2011, US President Barack Obama awarded Bill Russell with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian award. This recognition is given to men and women who have “made an especially meritorious contribution to (1), the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” The White House issued the following statement regarding Russell’s honor.

Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball. Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times. The first African American to coach in the NBA–indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States–Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality.

The book epilogue has an outstanding message ” making CELTIC PRIDE work for you. I urge you to read this resource and enjoy!

As always, feedback or comments are welcome
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