Today, we learned of the location for the Bill Russell statue in Boston [Statue of Bill Russell to Grace City Hall Plaza, Boston Globe, July 11, 2011]. Typically, statues of athletes are placed in or around the arenas were they played (Ted Williams at Fenway Park, Bobby Orr at the Banknorth Garden, Doug Flutie at Boston College).
However, exactly as I predicted, Boston’s elites have not placed the Bill Russell statue in front of the arena where the Boston Celtics play. Instead, Russell’s statue will stand outside City Hall Plaza, near Faneuil Hall, because of its proximity to the Freedom Trail.
As President Obama put it, the statue will be dedicated ”not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man.”
”He always found the time to take a youngster aside,’’ Celtics owner Steve Pagliuca said today. ”He was an individual who went out of his way to work with young children.”
Actually, Bill Russell always refused to sign autographs for children, until he retired and learned that they were willing to pay him lots of money for it.
Certainly, we have President Obama to thank for the Bill Russell Guilt statue (my phrase). It will be interesting to see if he shows up at the dedication, which promises to be an orgy of self-congratulation.