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Irish Coffee: Celtics legend Bill Russell sues NCAA

10.06.11 at 11:59 am ET

Wake up with the Celtics and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘€¦

Dear Electronic Arts,

I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

You want the good news first? Kudos on the NBA 2K12 commercial featuring San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson. His argument for the 1986 Celtics as the greatest team ever is pretty much perfect.

I particularly enjoyed this quote from the Winchester, Mass. native: “If you were to take all those players and put them in a blender of greatness, you’d get strawberry milkshake, because they’re sweet.”

Now for the bad news. Bill Russell is suing you. And he’s suing the NCAA. It takes a lot to get under the skin of the greatest winner in sports history, but you’ve gone and done it. The lawsuit accuses the two conglomerates of using Russell’s likeness without compensation or his consent.

Russell’s claim argues that the NCAA violates antitrust laws by profiting from video of former student-athletes, like $150 videos of his two University of San Francisco championship seasons. The Celtics legend also accuses EA Sports of using his image in the “Tournament of Legends” portion of their college basketball game.

Bill Russell, one of the greatest NCAA, NBA and Olympic basketball players in history, joins the lawsuit brought by Ed O’Bannon alleging that the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law by unlawfully foreclosing former Division I men’s basketball and football players from receiving any compensation related to the commercial use of their images and likenesses,” attorney Jon King told Bloomberg via e-mail.

Have fun arguing against a Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree in court.


Finally, Magic Johnson has left the dark side and realized that Boston is better than Los Angeles in every way possible. Why else would he invest in the $2 billion NorthPoint development between Cambridge and Boston?

Welcome to the City of Champions, Earvin.

Red Auerbach would be rolling in his grave,” Johnson told The Globe, a short distance from the Boston Garden.


Now, let’s get to the day’s Celtics-related links. Celtics backup point guard Avery Bradley‘s deal with Hapoel Jerusalem is reportedly official. Despite Israeli reports that Bradley could remain overseas longer than his two-month deal even if the NBA lockout is lifted, contradicted such nonsense. …

Another Celtics backup floor general — free agent Carlos Arroyo — and free agent Northeastern product J.J. Barea begin practicing with Puerto Rico‘s Pan American Games squad next week. …

Rajon Rondo makes a cameo appearance in SLAM’s Red Bull King of the Rock highlight video. …

The Lexington Herald-Leader suggests Rondo has recruited Celtics teammates to work out with him and members of the Thunder at the University of Kentucky. …

You might want to sit down for this one: Kevin Garnett is emotional, even in National Basketball Players Association meetings about basketball-related income. … pieced together a handy lockout timeline, including Ray Allen‘s take: “Nobody wants to miss a year. But I’m prepared to do what the team needs me to do, what my players association, players union team, what they need me to do, because we want to make sure we get the right deal for us.” …

Celtics captain Paul Pierce appears in the “Manchild” documentary about Schea Cotton, a  Southern California basketball recruit in the 1990s whose career never panned out the way experts imagined. Said Pierce: “If I had to compare Schea Cotton’s game to somebody in the NBA today, I would have to say LeBron [James].” …

(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’€™s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)

Read More: Bill Russell, Boston Celtics, Magic Johnson, NCAA
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