An unlikely alum showed his face on USF’s main campus on Sunday, March 23. 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell visited his alma mater to discuss his unfinished USF degree with the university’s president, the Rev. Stephen A. Privett, S.J. USF and Bill Russell have had bitter relations in the past because of a dispute over tuition, but San Francisco hoped to reconnect the NCAA and NBA champion with the school he once played for.
Russell, The Dons’ spindly basketball player that led them to back-to-back NCAA Tournament titles in 1955 and 1956, accepted Privett’s offer to come back to USF and discuss the completion of his degree. Unknown to many, Russell did not graduate from USF because he was 16 credits shy when he made his transition to the NBA.
Upon arrival at USF, Russell seemed pleased to return to the place that kickstarted his career.However, the pleasure was short-lived. Russell could not bear to eat the cafeteria’s food, and declined Privett’s offer after taking a single bite of lumpy orange chicken and limp cauliflower.
Sitting in the back corner of the cafeteria, unrecognized by many students, the six-foot-nine Russell towered high above the university’s president, eyeing his food. Russell selected food from the cultural foods section of the cafeteria, ordering servings of orange chicken, spring rolls, and mixed vegetables. He sat with Privett, discussing the logistics of his future at the USF. Russell looked distraught as he peered down at his food, hesitant to take a bite.
Several students had spotted Bill Russell at this point, and word spread that the NBA legend was in USF’s cafeteria. Curious students looked on as Privett talked with Russell, who was still avoiding his food. Noticing the gathering onlookers, Russell summoned the courage to take a bite.
The courage quickly dissipated. After Russell’s bite of the cafeteria food, he reached across the table and grabbed Privett’s hamburger, desperate to get the taste out of his mouth. However, his reacted to the burger was no better. After a single bite, Russell stood up, murmured something to Privett, shook his hand, and walked out of the cafeteria without saying another word.
Privett sat in shock. Students watching the entire scene sat in bewilderment, eyeing their own food and wondering if it was really that bad.
Russell was not to be found. Phone calls were made to try and convince him to return and give USF another chance. Russell could not be reached by phone, however, and his whereabouts were unknown. Once again, USF found itself trying to track down the man that made the school legendary.
Russell later released a statement summarizing his visit.
“My relations with my alma mater are just as bitter as the orange chicken I ate on the day I decided to return to University of San Francisco,” Russell said via his newly installed twitter account. I will not be completing my education at USF.”
DISCLAIMER: This piece was printed as part of The Foghorn’s April Fool’s Day issue on April 1st, 2014. This article is intended to be satirical.