NBA legend Bill Russell’s legacy was honored in grand fashion Wednesday night at the 2019 ESPYS.
And it was delivered by a former Los Angeles Laker.
Kobe Bryant made a powerful speech to introduce Russell, the Celtics’ Hall of Fame big man and cultural icon, as this year’s recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Bryant started by calling Russell, an 11-time NBA champion (in 13 seasons), the “greatest winner that sports has ever known.”
But the impact of Bryant’s speech was highlighted when he illuminated Russell as a linchpin for breaking racial barriers in an era that eventually paved the way for African-American athletes to thrive.
ESPY AWARD WINNERS: See the full list here
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“Every generation has a responsibility to teach the next,” Bryant began. “One thing I learned about Bill is how he drew inspiration from his grandfather (Jake), whose motto was, ‘A man has to draw a line within himself that he will not allow any man to cross.’ Bill learned from that,…