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NBA names finals MVP award after Bill Russell


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#1 TheAssassin611

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 06:37 PM

PHOENIX (AP)—Bill Russell was never an NBA finals MVP.

Now the award is named after him.

Starting this year, the finals MVP will receive the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, commissioner David Stern announced Saturday.

“This is one of my proudest moments in basketball, because I determined early in my career, the only important statistic in basketball is the final score,” Russell said. “

Russell’s wife, Marilyn, recently died of cancer, and he was visibly moved as he accepted the honor.

“This is a bittersweet award,” Russell said. “I just lost my special person. But I wanted to thank my teammates because we played a team game quite well. I accept this for my team, and my team included our coach, Red Auerbach, and all my teammates over the years. This is quite flattering.”


Russell, a cornerstone of Boston’s NBA dynasty in the 1960s, was a five-time NBA MVP and won 11 championships as a player and coach. But he never won the finals MVP award.

The NBA first named a finals MVP in 1969, after the series between Russell’s Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics won the title but Los Angeles’ Jerry West won the MVP trophy—the first and only time the award has gone to a member of the losing team.

“Who better to name this prestigious award for than one of the greatest players of all time and the ultimate champion,” Stern said.

The award, presented at the end of the finals, is voted by writers and broadcasters covering the series.

“What I’m going to do next week is visit my father’s grave, because he was my hero,” Russell said. “And I’m going to share that with him.”

DURANT’S TIME COMING: Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant was left out of the All-Star Game. But he’s made his presence felt in Phoenix this weekend.

Durant scored a Rookie Challenge-record 46 points to lead the NBA’s sophomores to a 122-116 victory over the rookies on Friday night, shattering the record of 36 set by Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire as a sophomore in 2004.

Players were still buzzing about it during All-Star practices on Saturday.

“He’ll have his time,” San Antonio center Tim Duncan said. “He’ll be on this floor just like we are. I’ll probably be gone by then, but he’ll definitely be out here and be representing the right way.”

MEMORIES OF MARIAH: Michael? Nope. Magic? Not quite.

Mariah? Definitely.

Though Michael Jordan was his idol and Magic Johnson is the player he is often compared to, neither made the biggest All-Star impression on LeBron James.

“My favorite All-Star memory was seeing Mariah Carey in the Michael Jordan jersey dress,” James said Saturday. “Was that Atlanta? Yeah, that’s my favorite memory of All-Star weekend. Whew!”

James was a high school senior in Akron, Ohio in 2003 when that performance took place. During a tribute to Jordan, who was playing in his final All-Star game, Carey sang while wearing tight-fitting dresses patterned after Jordan’s Chicago and Washington jerseys.

Speaking of All-Star outfits, James gave high marks to his Olympic teammate Dwyane Wade, who sported a bow tie Friday night when he acted as an assistant coach for the rookies in the rookie challenge.

“I wore a bow tie before,” James said. “I thought D-Wade looked good. He looked really good.”

STAYING OR GOING?: Phoenix All-Star Amare Stoudemire has been the subject of intense trade rumors in recent days.

The fans seem as confused as Stoudemire about where he might end up.

“I’m hearing people say don’t go. I’m hearing people say come to the Knicks, come to the Bulls, come to Miami,” Stoudemire said at All-Star practice. “I’m hearing everything. Everybody’s attacking me.”

Stoudemire said he expects a positive reaction from the fans in his homecourt, U.S. Airways Center, on Sunday night. West coach Phil Jackson believes he’ll get it.

“Very few home fans get tickets to the All-Star Game, but he is on a favored court where he feels comfortable, and there’ll be enough fans to really give him support,” Jackson said. “There’ve been a lot of rumors around Amare during this weekend. We want him to play loose and free and the best that he can do out there on the floor, and we think he’ll be fine.”

NO ‘D’ FOR D-WADE: Although his rookies team lost the Rookie Challenge, Dwyane Wade said he enjoyed his turn as an assistant coach.

Wade chuckled when asked if he was in charge of defense for a team that gave up 122 points in 40 minutes.

“I was in charge of patting guys on the back,” Wade said.

AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.



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#2 magicbalala245

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 10:02 PM

Who better to name this prestigious award for than one of the greatest players of all time and the ultimate champion


Umm yea Mr. Stern there is a guy name Michael Jordan or Earvin "Magic" Johnson
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#3 lakerfool

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 10:04 PM

Umm yea Mr. Stern there is a guy name Michael Jordan or Earvin "Magic" Johnson


This was the first dominant playoff player ever. I think this is very fitting.
Gooden>> Lamar Odom. Mo Williams>> Ray Allen>> Gasol. Nene= Gasol.

#4 magicbalala245

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 10:19 PM

This was the first dominant playoff player ever. I think this is very fitting.


But Jordan is the most dominant player ever hands down 6 MVP Finals and has never lost a Finals when he has reached the Finals
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#5 lakerfool

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 10:30 PM

But Jordan is the most dominant player ever hands down 6 MVP Finals and has never lost a Finals when he has reached the Finals


Bill Russell won more, and has more seniority on Jordan. Easy choice.
Gooden>> Lamar Odom. Mo Williams>> Ray Allen>> Gasol. Nene= Gasol.

#6 magicbalala245

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 10:45 PM

Transcend the Game of Basketball: Jordan
Who Defines Clutch: Jordan
Consider the GOAT: Jordan
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#7 Makaveli

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 10:52 PM

Starting this year, the finals MVP will receive the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award

Now that's something. I watched the award ceremony and i can honestly say that Russell deserves it more than any other player in the NBA.

Transcend the Game of Basketball: Jordan
Who Defines Clutch: Jordan
Consider the GOAT: Jordan

So ? That doesn't mean that the award should be named after him.

Edited by Makaveli'#24, February 14, 2009 - 10:51 PM.


#8 azk81

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 11:02 PM

bill russel definitely deserves it
“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

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#9 elpermic

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Posted February 14, 2009 - 11:06 PM

But Jordan is the most dominant player ever hands down 6 MVP Finals and has never lost a Finals when he has reached the Finals


-Bill Russell won his rookie year! When he left the Celtics, they became LOSERS! Despite having Havilcek!

-Jordan joined the Bulls, although he improved them, he has ZERO winning seasons without his right hand man, Pippen. Remember when he went to baseball? They only had a two game drop, and Jordan was replaced by a CBA player!

-If they had the Finals MVP trophy during Russell's time, there is no doubt he would be the greatest player of all-time ,too bad they didn't he surely would've won at least 7.

Russell deserves the award named after him, no doubt about it.

I'd plow Vanessa Bryant.


#10 LD2k

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 12:27 AM

11 titles don't lie. No matter the era that is amazing. 11 (bleeping) titles.

Very well deserved.

#11 Shade

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 12:45 AM

Russel deserves it more than anyone. I almost went to tears when i saw the interview.

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#12 Junayd

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 01:12 AM

Go Bill Russell

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#13 insert coin here

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 03:00 AM

Utterly disgusting... He is a former Celtic, enough said...

Heck, I would have been happier if it was named Kwame Brown NBA Finals Award...
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#14 Game

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 03:28 AM

oh come on, like jordan doesn't have enough already. there are people on this board who probably don't even know who bill russell is, let the man have the award

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#15 lyk13

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 04:47 AM

I thought Clutch was Jerry West before Michael Jordan?

Anyway, Bill deserves it, too bad Wilt just....=/




#16 infinite_

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 07:18 AM

Eleven championships in thirteen years. Insane. Hard to argue against if you're talking about a winner. It was also really touching when Bill was speaking and his overall reaction. You could tell how much it meant to him.

Having said that, I'll enjoy it very much when a Laker is the first recipient of the award after its renaming especially if it's against the C's.
;)

#17 Louizzle

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 09:12 AM

Well deserved.

What is really amazing is that he still thanks his team for everything. Shows how true of a team player this guy is.

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#18 LD2k

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 12:11 PM

Utterly disgusting... He is a former Celtic, enough said...

Heck, I would have been happier if it was named Kwame Brown NBA Finals Award...

11 rings.

You can't argue that - or at time, even comprehend it.

#19 lyk13

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 08:13 PM

At least this is the time where we cut off the ties of him and his team to appreciate the person for who he is.

Though somewhere down there, contradictory...Boston, LA....~_~"




#20 insert coin here

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Posted February 15, 2009 - 08:24 PM

11 rings.

You can't argue that - or at time, even comprehend it.

Again, he is a Celtic...

A Finals MVP award named after a former Celtic, ugh... That felt worse than throwing up and then eating it...
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