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“My mother told me to not feed Bill Russell so well”: Wilt Chamberlain let the Celtics legend sleep over at his place just to get his butt kicked the next day

Samir Mehdi

“My mother told me to not feed Bill Russell so well”: Wilt Chamberlain let the Celtics legend sleep over at his place just to get his butt kicked the next day

Bill Russell used to sleep over with Wilt Chamberlain at his place before Boston-Philly games and kick his butt eh next day. 

The relationship that existed between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain far exceeded the NBA hardwood. When on the court, the two matched up against one another as two Titans duking it out down-low. Kevin Durant described guys like Wilt and Russell as Zeus, mythologizing the 1960s NBA greats. 

Off the court however, the two shared an interesting connection. Bill Russell was knee deep in civil and social activism with him constantly preaching social justice and equality for all alongside Muhammed Ali and other black athletes. 

Wilt Chamberlain on the other hand, never really dove into the social activism sphere of the North American sporting world. That is, not until much later in his career. The assassination of MLK brought both Russell and Chamberlain together as they wanted to boycott Game 1 of their Playoff series to stand against what had taken place.

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They were eventually overruled by their teammates and of course, network execs who couldn’t lose a prime-time slot but this spoke volumes to just how close the two were. 

Bill Russell would sleep over at the house Wilt Chamberlain stayed at. 

Thanksgiving games usually saw the matchup between Bill Russell vs whatever team Wilt Chamberlain played on. They followed the usual pattern with which their head-to-heads with Russell’s Boston Celtics coming out on top. 

Wilt Chamberlain in 1997 told Bob Costas [at the 14:55 mark] that Russell would actually sleep over at his place before these Thanksgiving games.

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“He would come past my house on Thanksgiving because we played Philly-Boston all the time. He’d sleep in my bed, eat my food, and then go out there and whoop my butt. My mother would say, ‘Wilt we shouldn’t feed Bill so well next time.’” 

Russell had a far superior record over ‘The Big Dipper’ in the regular season as his Celtics dominated his teams by winning 57 of 94 matchups they had. The Playoffs saw the Celtics win more as well as they won 29 of the 49 meetings. 

About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi


Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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