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Old 12-08-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why didn't Bill Russell win the 1964 MVP?

Originally Posted by fpliii
Good question. I found some sources that might help you out:

it appears it was likely a combination of factors (speculation that Russell might quit basketball based on his statements, his social writings/comments, Robertson allegedly having his 'finest year in the league [p]laying a superb all around game). From a quick glance, it looks like the common sentiment is that he was snubbed for All-Star MVP voting (though unlike the season MVP which was voted for by his peers in the other players, I *believe* the All-Star MVP was decided via a straw poll by media back then), partially due possibly to his outspoken nature, and the near-boycott of the game in hopes of getting the player pensions plan pushed through (it seems Russ was seen as a ringleader/instigator).

I could be completely off base though, and it could've just been an issue of voter fatigue on the part of the players.

Thanks for the links. I agree with your insights as well. I reckon it was, like you mentioned, a combination of the backlash from his racial statements, voter fatigue - much like what happened with Jordan - and Oscar's brilliant play in Cincinnati. What I find most striking is just how different the MVP voting was from the previous year. Russell came in third that year, despite having a better case for the award than he did the previous year.

The racial things you mentioned, and the ones mentioned in the pdfs you gave me, are the same ones I was referring to in the original post.

some exerpts

"Russell may now be paying the hidden tax, so to speak, for his Long-Live-Black-Muslims venture into Satevpost literature"

"Russell created considerable controversy by asserting there is a quota in the N.B.A. for Negro players. He also said a Negro player does not have to be as good as a white player, he must be better."

It's somewhat interesting to read opinions towards his statements at the time.

"It wasn't signed Felton X., of course, but it destroyed your illusion that Bill Russell could be counted among the clear-headed who will, in our time, lead us away from the wastelands of racial inequality and bigotry."

Hopefully we'll get some other opinions on the matter.
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