- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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WALTHAM, Mass. -- When Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens flew to Boston for his introductory press conference in July, he brought along a weathered copy of "Russell Rules," the book written by Celtics legend Bill Russell that details 11 lessons on leadership.
That book helped shape Stevens' coaching and leadership philosophies. What's more, Russell and his 11 championship rings symbolized the storied tradition of the franchise that Stevens has been tasked with restoring to title contender.
On Friday, Stevens hopes to meet Russell while the Celtics legend is in town for the unveiling of his long-awaited statue in City Hall Plaza.
"Obviously, he’s the greatest winner in the history of basketball that’s played the game," Stevens said after practice Thursday, his eyes scanning the banners in the team's practice facility as he gushed about Russell. "He made a mark on this organization like no one else has. He’s won at the very highest levels in everything that he’s done. And I’ve never met him personally; I look forward to that tomorrow. As a kid growing up and a basketball fan, he’s one of the names that is forever right next to the winner and the way you’re supposed to play the game. Obviously, there's nothing but a great deal of respect out of this building for him."
A sculpture designed by local artist Ann Hirsch will be unveiled on Boston City Hall Plaza (President Obama got a sneak peek during a trip to town this week; see the video above). The Celtics will celebrate the moment with an all-star cast of guests as part of a speaking program that's scheduled to be part of the event.
Stevens was asked if he'd pepper Russell with questions about coaching and leadership on Friday.
"I just [want to] tell him, I appreciate all that you’ve done to make this organization what it is," said Stevens. "And the continued support. I think it’s great that we’re putting a statue out front [of City Hall] in his honor."
7dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann