As I get on the plane in Dallas heading back home to Seattle, I notice an older gentleman to my right sitting across the aisle from me. He is wearing a black hat with a clover on it with the number 6 on it. I start thinking to myself, "This guy looks like….." I look down at his legs to see if I’m dreaming and sure enough this guy must be almost 7 feet tall. I start freaking out because I’ve met several celebrities but no one as big as this (physically or historically). I’m not kidding…this guy is probably one of the most prominent sports figures there is. Just to give you an idea; he has more championship rings than ANY athlete. Bar NONE. Wilt Chamberlain might have more points, but he only has 2 rings. Bill has 11. yeah, exactly; and in 13 seasons.
I ask him if I can get a picture of him after we land and he declines. I apologize for bothering him and says, "It’s OK". I immediately flash back to 2005 when I met on the pane a lesser player (Charles Barkley)who also declined. These guys must SERIOUSLY be mugged for photos for them to be so adamant about not being photographed with an admirer. It would seem, though, that Mr. Russell who has been out of circulation for years would be a little more accommodating.
Part of me wanted to get my webcam out and just snap a pic and put it up here–but I want to be nice about it. It’s not every day that you meet a legend.
I quickly discovered that I didn’t have to battle with my feelings. The guy sitting in front of him sneaks a camera pic of him. As we were getting off the plane, I give him my card with cell phone number and ask him to "share the wealth". He winks at me and says, "No problem!"
It was funny watching the people come on to the plane. I could immediately tell who was a sports fan: the ones that stared at him. To a couple of guys that stared and glanced over at me, I nodded and said "Yup." They grinned and said "I thought so!"