This past Friday, I arranged to leave work early and made my way to a Bill Russell book signing. I’ve always wanted to add a Russell autograph to my collection, but his autographed cards usually sell for triple digits on eBay and that’s out of my price range. Now I had the opportunity to get his autograph and meet the man himself for just $27. That’s an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
I worked a half day and left work at 11:00 am to make my way across the street to the book store. The signing started at 12:30 and there was already a very long line. I purchased the book and made my way into line. I think the line more than doubled in length from that time until the signing started.
It just just before 3:00 pm when I finally arrived at the front of the line. I was hungry, tired and had sore feet, but it was so worth it. I got to speak to Mr. Russell for a couple of minutes which was great by itself. As a lifelong Celtics fan, I’ve seen tons of footage of Russell on the court. Not only was he great on the court, but he was the first African-American coach in the NBA. Now I was standing on the other side of a table from him.
Mr. Russell signed my book, shook my hand and wished me well. I thanked him and left the book store with an enormous smile on my face. Unfortunately, all of the pictures are on a disposable camera so I can’t post any at the moment, but once I finish off that roll of film I’ll have pictures of Russell as well as Big Baby, Leon Powe, Kendrick Perkins and Brian Scalabrine.
The book itself is about Russell’s relationship with Red Auerbach. Red was a great owner and did a lot of work to break the color barrier in the NBA. That was a huge contrast to the owner of the Red Sox at the time who was a huge racist. The stories of the Red Sox giving Jackie Robinson a try out and choosing not to sign him because of his color are an ugly part of Red Sox history.
Friday was definitely a great day that I’ll never forget. I got to meet one of the biggest sports legends there is and added an amazing piece to my collection. You can’t beat that.