Finished ‘The Last Dance?’ Now Is the Time to Read Bill Russell’s Memoir

The Last Dance poster
Finished ‘The Last Dance?’ Now Is the Time to Read Bill Russell’s Memoir

Why The Last Dance Made Waves

When the 2020 American sports documentary miniseries became globally available on Netflix mid-summer, the whole world was watching. Even those who aren’t big on sports were glued to the screens streaming The Last Dance, a rare insight into Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls, 1997-98. Now that you’ve seen this masterpiece, you’re probably craving more NBA content. Don’t worry, as we have just the thing for you.

Bill Russell’s Second Wind: Memoirs of an Opinionated Man

Bill Russell on the court playing for the Celtics with his coach during a game
Finished ‘The Last Dance?’ Now Is the Time to Read Bill Russell’s Memoir

Russell co-authored his provocative autobiography in 1979 alongside the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch. The book came a decade after sports history had labeled him as the greatest winner in the history of team sports. What makes Second Wind somewhat more complete than The Last Dance is that it focuses on all aspects of the game during that period, not just on the on-court success.

BOSTON, MA - 1964: Bill Russell #6 of the Boston Celtics goes for a block against the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1964 NBA Game at Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Finished ‘The Last Dance?’ Now Is the Time to Read Bill Russell’s Memoir

In his memoir, Russell takes a deep dive into the mechanisms that made him who he is, touching on subjects of politics, gender, money, racism, philosophy, family, celebrity, and more. He isn’t afraid to admit when he doesn’t have an answer, but he does reflect on his own perspective of his past experiences. It’s an autobiography worth reading.

Bill Russell’s Lifetime Dedication to Mentorship & Anti-Racism

Bill Russell in his older years photographed with a basketball ball
Finished ‘The Last Dance?’ Now Is the Time to Read Bill Russell’s Memoir

Contrary to what many would believe, Russell isn’t afraid to show his vulnerability to the reader, pulling you into his thoughts on topics that reveal life behind the curtain. He discloses his experience of expressing himself in a society that didn’t want all of him, just the parts that were convenient. That’s where his desire for continuous education and fighting racism in sports kicked in. Aside from being a notable coach and TV commentator for years, Russell also dedicated his life after retirement to mentorship and raising a voice against racism and for equality.

President Barack Obama reaches over the shoulders of 6'9" Bill Russell to present him with the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom
Finished ‘The Last Dance?’ Now Is the Time to Read Bill Russell’s Memoir

No doubt, every basketball fan will find valuable insights in this revealing, decades-long yet current memoir.