Skip to main content

John Salley reveals Bill Russell once got beat up in Boston for marrying a white girl

Different times.
Bill Russell and John Salley

Bill Russell and John Salley

Being an NBA player today means you are a true success story that has most likely set himself and his family for life. It's a dream for every young basketball player in the world, but still, we sometimes hear the athletes complain about all the criticism they get, primarily through social media. But if they took a step back and looked at what the guys before them went through, they would probably look at it from a vastly different perspective.

Different world

Social media has truly allowed everyone to communicate with whoever they like and in whichever manner they want, as it really isn't pleasant for the athletes. But at least they have the choice of tuning out and living the fabulous life playing basketball has afforded them.

Back in the early days of the NBA, being a professional player wasn't nearly as lucrative as it is today. In a recent interview, former NBA player John Salley explained why players today should be grateful, explaining what superstars like Wilt, Kareem, Robertson, and especially Bill Russell went through in their careers:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"These guys took cabs to the game. They got paid 65 thousand dollars. Some of these guys had to have a summer job. Bill Russell got called ni**a so many times I don't even think he can hear the word. He was playing in Boston, and his own fans were cursing him out. He couldn't go to certain restaurants. He was getting beat up for his choice of women."

John Salley, djvlad

Bill Russell got beat up

The stuff Bill Russell went through in Boston, despite winning 11 championships for the Celtics, is the craziest part. We all know about the treatment Russell got from the city, which has a bad track record regarding racial issues. It's the reason Bill always said he played for the Celtics and not the city of Boston.

Getting called various names and being unable to go into certain restaurants is nothing when you hear that Bill got beat up for getting married to a white girl. Russell was married to Rose Swisher, a black woman, for 17 years, but after getting divorced, the Celtics legend married two more times, both times to white women, and obviously, that didn't sit well with particular people in Boston.

It's a true shame such a legend of the game got treated that way in his own city, but that was the reality of that time. The political situation was vastly different, and the players didn't make nearly enough money to isolate themselves from the outside world like the players today.

Salley concluded and gave advice to all the young stars with money today. Get off social media and TV, stay low-key, reap the benefits of your craft, enjoy life, and mute the hate you receive. You have the privilege the pioneers of the NBA didn't have.


Rob Pelinka’s big promise to LeBron James as contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers nears

The Lakers have been a bit trepid about making big roster moves recently, but they appear to have said what they needed to say to keep James in L.A.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan and golf icon Tiger Woods

“He’s scared, I’ll knock his brains out” — Michael Jordan revealed why Tiger Woods refused to play basketball

Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are both GOAT but while MJ plays golf and is good at it, Tiger wouldn't come near a basketball court.


"You would never have heard of Michael Jordan!"-John Salley reveals the crucial information he learned from "The Last Dance" documentary

In Salley's opinion, if the "Bad Boys" Pistons knew at the time what was revealed in "The Last Dance" documentary, Jordan would have never gotten past them.

New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose

Why Derrick Rose isn't your average superstar — “I hate fame. It's just not who I am.”

DRose's answer demonstrates how humble he is, despite all his achievements.