Rafer Lewis Johnson is an American former decathlete and film actor. He was the 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, having won silver in 1956, he had won a gold in the 1955 Pan American Games. He was the USA team's flag bearer at the 1960 Olympics and lit the Olympic flame at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. In 1968, he, football player Rosey Grier and journalist George Plimpton tackled Sirhan Sirhan moments after he had fatally shot Robert F. Kennedy. After he retired from athletics, Johnson turned to acting, public service and was instrumental in creating the California Special Olympics, his acting career included appearances in The Sins of Rachel Cade, the Elvis Presley film Wild in the Country, Pirates of Tortuga, None but the Brave, two Tarzan films with Mike Henry, The Last Grenade, Soul Soldier, Roots: The Next Generations, Think Big and the 1989 James Bond film Licence to Kill, with Timothy Dalton. Johnson was born in Hillsboro, but the family moved to Kingsburg, when he was 9.
For a while, they were the only black family in the town. A versatile athlete, he played on Kingsburg High School's football and basketball teams, he was elected class president in both junior high and high school. The Summer between his sophomore and junior years in high school, his coach Murl Dodson drove Johnson 24 miles to Tulare and watched Bob Mathias compete in the 1952 U. S. decathlon olympic trials. Johnson told his coach, "I could have beaten most of those guys." Dodson and Johnson drove back a month to watch Mathias' victory parade. Weeks Johnson competed in a high school invitational decathlon and won the event, he won the 1953 and 1954 California state high school decathlon meets. In 1954 as a freshman at the University of California, Los Angeles, his progress in the event was impressive, he pledged Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, America's first nondiscriminatory fraternity, was class president at UCLA. In 1955, in Mexico City, he won the title at the Pan American Games. Johnson qualified for both the decathlon and the long jump events for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.
However, he was forfeited his place in the long jump. Despite this handicap, he managed to take second place in the decathlon behind compatriot Milt Campbell, it would turn out to be his last defeat in the event. Due to injury, Johnson missed the 1957 and 1959 seasons, but he broke the world record in 1958 and 1960; the crown to his career came at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. His most serious rival was Yang Chuan-Kwang of Taiwan. Yang studied at UCLA. "Ducky" had become friends. In the decathlon, the lead swung forth between them. After nine events, Johnson led Yang by a small margin, but Yang was known to be better in the final event, the 1500 m. According to The Telegraph, "Legend has it" that Drake gave coaching to both men, with him advising Johnson to stay close to Yang and be ready for "a hellish sprint" at the end, advising Yang to put as much distance between himself and Johnson before the final sprint as possible. Johnson ran his personal best at 4:49.7 and finished just 1.2 sec slower than Yang, winning the gold by 58 points with an Olympic record total of 8,392 points.
Both athletes were exhausted and drained and came to a stop a few paces past the finish line leaning against each other for support. With this victory, Johnson ended his athletic career. At UCLA, Johnson played basketball under legendary coach John Wooden and was a starter on the 1959–60 men's basketball team. Wooden considered Johnson a great defensive player, but sometimes regretted holding back his teams early in his coaching career, remarking, "imagine Rafer Johnson on the break."Johnson was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the 28th round of the 1959 NFL Draft as a running back. While training for the 1960 Olympics, his friend Kirk Douglas told him about a part in Spartacus that Douglas thought might make him a star: the Ethiopian gladiator Draba, who refuses to kill Spartacus after defeating him in a duel. Johnson read for and got the role, but was forced to turn it down because the Amateur Athletic Union told him it would make him a professional and therefore ineligible for the Olympics.
The role went to another UCLA great, Woody Strode. In 1960, he began working as a sportscaster. In the 1963–1964 season, he appeared on an episode of ABCs drama about college life, starring Jason Evers and Henry Jones. Johnson made several film appearances including the James Bond film Licence to Kill as a DEA agent. After his acting career, he worked full-time as a sportscaster in the early 1970s, he weekend sports anchored on the local Los Angeles NBC news, but seemed uncomfortable in that position and moved on to other things. In 1968, he worked on the presidential election campaign of Robert F. Kennedy, with the help of Rosey Grier, he apprehended Sirhan Sirhan after Sirhan had assassinated Kennedy, he discusses the experience in The Best That I Can Be. Rafer Johnson is the spokesperson for Hershey's Track & Field Games and is involved in Special Olympics Southern California. After attending the first Special Olympics competition in Chicago in 1968, conducted by Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was inspired to become involved.
Johnson, along with a small group of volunteers
In the context of ancient Greek art and culture, Hellenistic Greece corresponds to the period between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek Achaean League heartlands by the Roman Republic. This culminated at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC, a crushing Roman victory in the Peloponnese that led to the destruction of Corinth and ushered in the period of Roman Greece. Hellenistic Greece's definitive end was with the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, when the future emperor Augustus defeated Greek Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, the next year taking over Alexandria, the last great center of Hellenistic Greece; the Hellenistic period began with the wars of the Diadochi, armed contests among the former generals of Alexander the Great to carve up his empire in Europe and North Africa. The wars lasted until 275 BC, witnessing the fall of both the Argead and Antipatrid dynasties of Macedonia in favor of the Antigonid dynasty; the era was marked by successive wars between the Kingdom of Macedonia and its allies against the Aetolian League, Achaean League, the city-state of Sparta.
During the reign of Philip V of Macedon, the Macedonians not only lost the Cretan War to an alliance led by Rhodes, but their erstwhile alliance with Hannibal of Carthage entangled them in the First and Second Macedonian War with ancient Rome. The perceived weakness of Macedonia in the aftermath of these conflicts encouraged Antiochus III the Great of the Seleucid Empire to invade mainland Greece, yet his defeat by the Romans at Thermopylae in 191 BC and Magnesia in 190 BC secured Rome's position as the leading military power in the region. Within two decades after conquering Macedonia in 168 BC and Epirus in 167 BC, the Romans would control the whole of Greece. During the Hellenistic period the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply; the great centers of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria respectively. Cities such as Pergamon, Ephesus and Seleucia were important, increasing urbanization of the Eastern Mediterranean was characteristic of the time.
The quests of Alexander had a number of consequences for the Greek city-states. It widened the horizons of the Greeks, making the endless conflicts between the cities which had marked the 5th and 4th centuries BC seem petty and unimportant, it led to a steady emigration of the young and ambitious, to the new Greek empires in the east. Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander's wake, as far away as what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom survived until the end of the 1st century BC; the defeat of the Greek cities by Philip and Alexander taught the Greeks that their city-states could never again be powers in their own right, that the hegemony of Macedon and its successor states could not be challenged unless the city states united, or at least federated. The Greeks valued their local independence too much to consider actual unification, but they made several attempts to form federations through which they could hope to reassert their independence.
Following Alexander's death a struggle for power broke out among his generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire and the establishment of a number of new kingdoms. Macedon fell to Cassander, son of Alexander's leading general Antipater, who after several years of warfare made himself master of most of the rest of Greece, he founded a new Macedonian capital at Thessaloniki and was a constructive ruler. Cassander's power was challenged by Antigonus, ruler of Anatolia, who promised the Greek cities that he would restore their freedom if they supported him; this led to successful revolts against Cassander's local rulers. In 307 BC, Antigonus's son Demetrius captured Athens and restored its democratic system, suppressed by Alexander, but in 301 BC a coalition of Cassander and the other Hellenistic kings defeated Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus, ending his challenge. After Cassander's death in 298 BC, Demetrius seized the Macedonian throne and gained control of most of Greece, he was defeated by a second coalition of Greek rulers in 285 BC, mastery of Greece passed to the king Lysimachus of Thrace.
Lysimachus was in turn defeated and killed in 280 BC. The Macedonian throne passed to Demetrius's son Antigonus II, who defeated an invasion of the Greek lands by the Gauls, who at this time were living in the Balkans; the battle against the Gauls united the Antigonids of Macedon and the Seleucids of Antioch, an alliance, directed against the wealthiest Hellenistic power, the Ptolemies of Egypt. Antigonus II ruled until his death in 239 BC, his family retained the Macedonian throne until it was abolished by the Romans in 146 BC, their control over the Greek city states was intermittent, since other rulers the Ptolemies, subsidised anti-Macedonian parties in Greece to undermine the Antigonids' power. Antigonus placed a garrison at Corinth, the strategic centre of Greece, but Athens, Rhodes and other Greek states retained substantial independence, formed the Aetolian League as a means of defending it. Sparta remained independent, but refused to join any league. In 267 BC, Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek cities to revolt against Antigonus, in what became the Chremonidian War, after the Athenian leader Chremonides.
The cities were defeated and Athens lost her independence and her democratic institutions. The Aetolian League was restricted to the Peloponnese, but on being allowed to gain control of Thebes in 245 BC became a
George Thomas Seaver, nicknamed Tom Terrific and The Franchise, is an American professional baseball pitcher. He pitched in Major League Baseball from 1967 to 1986 for the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, he played a role in the Mets' victory in the 1969 World Series. With the Mets, Seaver won the National League's Rookie of the Year Award in 1967, won three NL Cy Young Awards as the league's best pitcher, he is a 12-time All-Star. Seaver is the Mets' all-time leader in wins, he threw a no-hitter in 1978. During a 20-year MLB career, Seaver compiled 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts, 61 shutouts and a 2.86 earned run average. In 1992, Seaver was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the highest percentage of votes recorded at the time, he is one of two players wearing a New York Mets hat on his plaque in the Hall of Fame. He is a member of the New York Mets Hall of Fame and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Seaver was born in California, to Betty Lee and Charles Henry Seaver.
He attended Fresno High School, played in the school's baseball team as a pitcher. Seaver compensated for his lack of strength by developing great control on the mound. Despite being an All-City basketball player, he hoped to play baseball in college, he joined the United States Marine Corps Reserves on June 28, 1962. He served with AIRFMFPAC 29 Palms, through July 1963. After six months of active duty in the Reserves, Seaver enrolled at Fresno City College; the University of Southern California recruited Seaver to play college baseball for the USC Trojans. Unsure as to whether Seaver was worthy of a scholarship, he was sent to pitch for the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1964. After a stellar season – in which he pitched and won a game in the national tournament with a grand slam – he was awarded a scholarship to USC; as a sophomore, Seaver posted a 10–2 record, he was drafted in the tenth round of the 1965 Major League Baseball draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. When Seaver asked for $70,000, the Dodgers passed.
In 1966, Seaver signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves, who had drafted him in the first round of the secondary June draft. However, the contract was voided by Baseball Commissioner William Eckert because his college team had played two exhibition games that year. Seaver intended to finish the college season, but because he had signed a pro contract, the NCAA ruled him ineligible. After Seaver's father complained to Eckert about the unfairness of the situation, threatened with a lawsuit, Eckert ruled that other teams could match the Braves' offer; the Mets were subsequently awarded his signing rights in a lottery drawing among the three teams that were willing to match the Braves' terms. Seaver spent one season with the Jacksonville Suns of the International League joined the New York Mets in 1967, he was named to the 1967 All-Star Game, got the save by pitching a scoreless 15th inning. Seaver won 16 games for the last-place Mets, with 18 complete games, 170 strikeouts, a 2.76 earned run average, all Mets' records to that point, was named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Seaver started for the Mets on Opening Day in 1968. He won 16 games again during that season, recorded over 200 strikeouts for the first of nine consecutive seasons, but the Mets moved up only one spot in the standings, to ninth. In 1969, Seaver won his first National League Cy Young Award, he finished runner-up to Willie McCovey for the League's Most Valuable Player Award. In front of a crowd of over 59,000 at New York's Shea Stadium on July 9, Seaver threw 8 1⁄3 perfect innings against the division-leading Chicago Cubs. Rookie backup outfielder Jim Qualls broke up Seaver's bid for a perfect game when he lined a clean single to left field. In the 1969 National League Championship Series, Seaver outlasted Atlanta's Phil Niekro in the first game a 9–5 victory. Seaver was the starter for Game One of the 1969 World Series, but lost a 4–1 decision to the Baltimore Orioles' Mike Cuellar. Seaver pitched a 10-inning complete game for a 2–1 win in Game Four; the Mets won the series. At year's end, Seaver was presented with the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award.
On April 22, 1970, Seaver set a major league record by striking out the final 10 batters of the game in a 2–1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium. Al Ferrara, who had homered in the second inning for the Padres' run, was the final strikeout victim of the game. In addition to his 10 consecutive strikeouts, Seaver tied Steve Carlton's major league record, at the time, with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game; the Mets won the game in which Carlton struck out 19, with Carlton victimized by Ron Swoboda's pair of 2-run homers in a 4–3 Mets' victory in St. Louis on September 15, 1969. By mid-August, Seaver's record stood at 17–6 and he seemed well on his way to a second consecutive 20-victory season, but he only won one of his last ten starts, including four on short rest, to finish 18–12. Nonetheless, Seaver led the National League in both strikeouts. In 1971, Seaver led the league in earned run average and strikeouts while going 20–10. However, he finished second in the Cy Young balloting to Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs, due to Jenkins' league-leading 24 wins, 325 innings pitched, exceptional control numbers.
Arnold Daniel Palmer was an American professional golfer, regarded as one of the greatest and most charismatic players in the sport's history. Dating back to 1955, he won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and the circuit now known as PGA Tour Champions. Nicknamed The King, he was one of golf's most popular stars and seen as a trailblazer, the first superstar of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s. Palmer's social impact on behalf of golf was unrivaled among fellow professionals. Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player were "The Big Three" in golf during the 1960s. In a career spanning more than six decades, he won 62 PGA Tour titles from 1955 to 1973; as of today, he is fifth on the Tour's all-time victory list, trailing only Sam Snead, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan. He won seven major titles in a six-plus-year domination from the 1958 Masters to the 1964 Masters, he won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, in 1974 was one of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Palmer was born to Doris and Milfred Jerome "Deacon" Palmer in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a working-class steel mill town. He learned golf from his father, who had suffered from polio at a young age and was head professional and greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club, which allowed young Palmer to accompany his father as he maintained the course. Palmer attended Wake Forest College on a golf scholarship, he left upon the death of close friend Bud Worsham and enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard, where he served for three years, 1951–1954. At the Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey, he built a nine-hole course and had some time to continue to hone his golf skills. After his enlistment term ended, Palmer returned to college and competitive golf. Palmer won the 1954 U. S. made the decision to turn pro in November of that year. "That victory was the turning point in my life," he said. "It gave me confidence I could compete at the highest level of the game." When reporters there asked Gene Littler who the young golfer was, cracking balls on the practice tee, Littler said: "That's Arnold Palmer.
He's going to be a great player some day. When he hits the ball, the earth shakes."After winning that match, Palmer quit his job selling paint and played in the Waite Memorial tournament in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania. There, he met his future wife, Winifred Walzer, they remained married for 45 years until her death in 1999. On November 17, 1954, Palmer announced his intentions to turn pro. "What other people find in poetry, I find in the flight of a good drive," Palmer said. Palmer's first tour win came during his 1955 rookie season, when he won the Canadian Open and earned $2,400 for his efforts, he raised his game status for the next several seasons. Palmer's charisma was a major factor in establishing golf as a compelling television event in the 1950s and 1960s, which set the stage for the popularity it enjoys today, his first major championship win at the 1958 Masters Tournament, where he earned $11,250, established his position as one of the leading stars in golf, by 1960 he had signed up as pioneering sports agent Mark McCormack's first client.
In interviews, McCormack listed five attributes that made Palmer marketable: his good looks. Palmer is credited by many for securing the status of The Open Championship among U. S. players. Before Ben Hogan won that championship in 1953, few American professionals had traveled to play in The Open, due to its extensive travel requirements small purse, the style of its links courses. Palmer wanted to emulate the feats of his predecessors Bobby Jones, Sam Snead and Hogan in his quest to become a leading American golfer. In particular, Palmer traveled to Scotland in 1960 to compete in the British Open for the first time, he had won both the Masters and U. S. Open and was trying to emulate Hogan's 1953 feat of winning all three tournaments in a single year. Palmer played what he himself said were the four best rounds of his career, shooting 71-69-67-69, his scores had the English excitedly claiming that Palmer may well be the greatest golfer to play the game. British fans were excited about Palmer's playing in the Open.
Although he failed to win, losing out to Kel Nagle by a single shot, his subsequent Open wins in the early 1960s convinced many American pros that a trip to Britain would be worth the effort, secured Palmer's popularity among British and European fans, not just American ones. Palmer was disappointed by his runner-up finish in the 1960 British Open, his appearance overseas drew American attention to the Open Championship, ignored by the American golfers. Palmer went on to win the Open Championship in 1961 and 1962, last played in it in 1995. Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, called Palmer "a true gentleman, one of the greatest to play the game and a iconic figure in sport", his participation in The Open Championship in the early 1960s "was the catalyst to int
Panathenaic amphorae were the amphorae, large ceramic vessels, that contained the olive oil given as prizes in the Panathenaic Games. Some were 60 -- 70 cm high; this oil came from the sacred grove of Athena at Akademia. The amphorae which held it had the distinctive form of tight handles, narrow neck and feet, they were decorated with consistent symbols, in a standard form using the black figure technique, continued to be so, long after the black figure style had fallen out of fashion; some Panathenaic amphorae depicted Athena Promachos, goddess of war, advancing between columns brandishing a spear and wearing the aegis, next to her the inscription τον αθενεθεν αθλον " of the prizes from Athens". On the back of the vase was a representation of the event for which it was an award. Sometimes roosters are depicted perched on top of the columns; the significance of the roosters remains a mystery. Amphorae had that year's archon's name written on it making finds of those vases archaeologically important.
The vases were commissioned by the state from the leading pottery workshops of the day in large numbers. Their canonical shape was set by 530 BCE, but the earliest known example is the Burgon amphora, which depicts Athena's owl nestling on the neck of the vase and on the reverse is a synoris team; this may mean that the vase predates the festival's reorganization in 566 since it is not an athletic event. The cock column is first seen on a panathenaic by Exekias. By the early fourth century the inclusion of the archon's name appears on these vases, the earliest intact one being Asteios 373/2 BCE.. There is a fragment that bears the name Hippodamas of 375/4 BCE, which may be a panathenaic, Beazley suggests there may be a preceding one, Pythokles of 392/1; as the century progressed the profile of the vases became elongated and the decoration more mannered. The last known dated vase is from 312/11, although production continues into the third and second centuries, the archons are no longer named, the treasurers and stewards of the games are recorded in their place.
Some vases were used as grave goods by the families of the victors, some were dedicated to sanctuaries, still others sold, hence their wide distribution in the Greek world. The survival rate of Greek pottery as a whole may be calculated from the remnant of panathenaic amphorae that exist. After 350 BCE at least 1450 vases were awarded every four years in the greater Panathenaia. Assuming the number of events was consistent throughout the history of the games and that all prizes were in the form of decorated amphora, dividing the number of unique vases known by the total production run, gives the figure of between 0.5% and 1% of all Greek vases awarded are still extant. John Boardman: Athenian Black Figure Vases, London 1974 Jenifer Neils:Goddess and Polis: The Panathenaic Festival in Ancient Athens, Hood Museum of Art, 1992 Martin Bentz: Panathenäische Preisamphoren: eine athenische Vasengattung und ihre Funktion vom 6. - 4. Jahrhundert v. Chr. Basel, Vereinigung der Freunde Antiker Kunst 1998 ISBN 3-909064-18-3 Martin Bentz.
- 29.11.1998. Mainz, Zabern 2001. ISBN 3-8053-2708-0 S. A. Callisen: The Iconography of the Cock on the Column, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 160-178
William Felton Russell is an American retired professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA championships during his thirteen-year career. Russell and Henri Richard of the National Hockey League are tied for the record of the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, he captained the gold-medal winning U. S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he was 6 ft 10 with a 7 ft 4 in wingspan. His shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' domination of the NBA during his career. Russell was notable for his rebounding abilities, he led the NBA in rebounds four times, had a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds, remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game.
He is one of just two NBA players to have grabbed more than 50 rebounds in a game. Russell was never the focal point of the Celtics' offense, but he did score 14,522 career points and provided effective passing. Russell played in the wake of black pioneers Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, he was the first black player to achieve superstar status in the NBA, he served a three-season stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first black coach in North American professional sports and the first to win a championship. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his accomplishments on the court and in the Civil Rights Movement. Russell is one of seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, an Olympic gold medal, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He was selected into the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971 and the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1980, named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, one of only four players to receive all three honors.
In 2007, he was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame. In Russell's honor the NBA renamed the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy in 2009: it is now the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Bill Russell was born in 1934 to Katie Russell in West Monroe, Louisiana. Like all Southern towns and cities of that time, West Monroe was a segregated place, the Russells struggled with racism in their daily lives. Russell's father was once refused service at a gas station until the staff had taken care of all the white customers; when his father attempted to leave and find a different station, the attendant stuck a shotgun in his face and threatened to kill him if he didn't stay and wait his turn. In another incident, Russell's mother was walking outside in a fancy dress when a white policeman accosted her, he told her to go home and remove the dress, which he described as "white woman's clothing". During World War II, large numbers of blacks were moving to the West to look for work there; when Russell was eight years old, his father moved the family out of Louisiana and settled in Oakland, California.
While there, the family fell into poverty, Russell spent his childhood living in a series of public housing projects. Charles Russell was described as a "stern, hard man" who worked as a janitor in a paper factory, a typical "Negro Job"—low paid and not intellectually challenging, as sports journalist John Taylor commented; when World War II broke out, the elder Russell became a truck driver. Russell was closer to his mother Katie than to his father, he received a major emotional blow when she died when he was 12 years old, his father gave up his trucking job and became a steelworker to be closer to his semi-orphaned children. Russell has stated that his father became his childhood hero followed up by Minneapolis Lakers superstar George Mikan, whom he met when he was in high school. Mikan, in turn, would say of Russell the college basketball player, "Let's face it, he's the best ever. He's so good, he scares you." In his early years, Russell struggled to develop his skills as a basketball player.
Although Russell was a good runner and jumper and had large hands, he did not understand the game and was cut from the team in junior high school. As a freshman at McClymonds High School in Oakland, Russell was cut again. However, coach George Powles saw Russell's raw athletic potential and encouraged him to work on his fundamentals. Since Russell's previous experiences with white authority figures were negative, he was delighted to receive warm words from his white coach, he worked hard and used the benefits of a growth spurt to become a decent basketball player, but it was not until his junior and senior years that he began to excel, winning back to back high school state championships. Russell soon became, he recalled, "To play good defense... it was told back that you had to stay flatfooted at all times to react quickly. When I started to jump to make defensive plays and to block shots, I was corrected, but I stuck with it, it paid off." Russell, in an autobiographical account, notes while on a California High School All-Stars tour, he became obsessed with studying and memorizing other players' moves as preparation for defending against them