Bill Russell’s New Documentary Legend Premiered On Netflix, And NBA Fans Are Loving It

Bill Russell in still from Bill Russell: Legend
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has built a reputation for crafting engaging content, especially when it comes to documentaries. As of late, the streaming giant has dropped some particularly impressive sports docs like Race: Bubba Wallace and Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn't Exist, which centers on Manti Te’o. One of the most recent productions to hit the platform is Bill Russell: Legend, which focuses on the life and career of the iconic NBA player. The two-parter has been available for less than a week but, already, it’s clear that basketball fans are loving it.

Bill Russell was, to put it mildly, one of the greatest athletes to ever step foot on a basketball court. He won a whopping 11 NBA championships (as both a player and coach), earned 5 MVP awards and made 12 all-star appearances. And those aren’t even the only honors he won. He was also instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement of the ‘60s and helped break racial barriers in professional sports at the time. Keeping all of that in mind, it’s only fitting that the beloved Boston Celtic would receive a documentary worthy of his well-lived life. Well, per Twitter users, Legend honors him in tremendous fashion: 

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That’s some seriously high praise, and director Sam Pollard really deserves a lot of credit for taking on the challenge of tackling the life story of a figurative (and literal) giant. Making a doc can be challenging under any circumstances, but there’s added pressure when the subject is a highly revered person. But based on one person’s quick review, Pollard more than succeeded with this endeavor: 

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The only bittersweet aspect of the production coming out at this point in time is that the man at the center of it is no longer with us. Bill Russell passed away at the tender age of 88 in July 2022, and the news was met with reactions from plenty of fans and NBA greats like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. Though if he were still here, the always humble Russell probably wouldn’t have tuned in. He was truly a layered individual, and it sounds like the film deftly covers every facet of his character:

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It goes without saying that very few have accomplished what the Celtics great achieved. Fans always seem to debate the true GOATS of the NBA, and many definitely include Russell in their ranks. That also seems to be true for the following fan:

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While it still stings that Bill Russell has passed on, one can find comfort in knowing that he lived life to the fullest. He also more than received his flowers from the public at large during his time on Earth. Hopefully, more basketball fans will get the opportunity to check out the doc and in the process, get to learn more about this exceptional man.

Grab a Netflix subscription so that you can stream Bill Russell: Legend now along with other great basketball fare like The Redeem Team, which honors Kobe Bryant. Also, check out our list of athletes who deserve their own documentaries, or learn about the best sports movies that are available to watch right now.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.