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Bill Russell earned every honor

Updated: February 16, 2011, 1:55 PM ET
By Howard Bryant | ESPN.com

"I always felt it was better to understand," Bill Russell once said, "than to be understood." At a heavy cost, Bill Russell understood. He understood contradiction: between the individual and the team, the distance between black and white, and how different things could be if he was dealing with a person or a people.

If you don't flinch from the truth, Bill Russell is all things human and ultimately inspirational: heartbreaking, right, wrong, independent, excellent, revolutionary ...

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