April 7, 2009

Brown Sports & Media Symposium Features Bill Russell, Chris Berman '77, Ross Greenburg '77 and Bill Reynolds'68

April 7, 2009

Providence, Rhode Island - Legendary Boston Celtics center Bill Russell will join ESPN's Chris Berman `77, HBO's Ross Greenburg `77, and Providence Journal columnist and author Bill Reynolds `68 for a Sports & Media Symposium at Brown University on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on the main Campus Green, starting at 7:00 p.m. The symposium, sponsored by the Brown Department of Athletics and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

The four special guests will answer questions and interact with the audience, while exploring the topic, "The Role of the Media in Constructing the Public Perception of Sport." Luther Spoehr, Brown faculty member and well-respected Providence Journal book reviewer, will moderate the panel discussion.

A five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a 12-time All-Star while playing for the Boston Celtics, the 6-10 Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 NBA Championships during Russell's 13-year career. Russell is widely considered one of the best defensive players in NBA history. His shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' success, and he inspired his teammates to elevate their own defensive play.

Before his professional career, Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive National Collegiate Athletic Association championships (1955, 1956). He also won a gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics as captain of the U.S. national basketball team. Russell literally changed the way the game was played, when, after the 1955 NCAA tournament, collegiate coaches enacted two key rule changes in direct response to Russell's dominance -- the free throw lane where defensive players are not allowed to congregate was widened from ten feet to twelve, and "goaltending" (touching the ball on its downward arch toward the basket) was banned.

An Emmy Award-winning ESPN broadcaster, Berman, a member of the Brown Athletics Hall of Fame, was known as the voice of Brown football, basketball, ice hockey and baseball as sports director for WBRU radio in the late 1970's. With his trademark combination of wit, enthusiasm and knowledge, Berman went on to ESPN to become one of television's most popular and entertaining sportscasters, which includes his prognosticating alter-ego, "The Swami."

On air for almost three decades, the versatile Berman has been selected the National Sportscaster of the Year six times (1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 and 2001) by the members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Berman, who in 1989 became the first cable sportscaster to win the award, ranks second among sportscasters in winning this award from the NSSA. Berman is known for his extensive knowledge of sport leavened with ample amounts of humor and ebullience. He has covered 22 World Series, 26 Super Bowls, and U.S. Open golf tournaments since 1986 for the cable network.

Greenburg is most well known for his work as President of HBO Sports, producing the series "Sports of the 20th Century" a series of sports documentaries, as well as the leading sports magazine show "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," a football studio show led by Bob Costas, Dan Marino, Cris Carter, and Chris Collinsworth titled "Inside the NFL" and HBO World Championship Boxing. In 1990, he won the Sam Taub Award for excellence in boxing broadcasting journalism.

Reynolds is a renown author and sports columnist for the Providence Journal. He co-authored "Success Is a Choice" with Rick Pitino, and has won numerous awards for his columns in The Providence Journal. He has authored several additional books, including "Fall River Dreams: A Team's Quest for Glory, a Town's Search for Its Soul", "Glory Days: On Sports, Men, and Dreams-That Don't Die", "Cousy: His Life, Career, and the Birth of Big-Time Basketball", "Lost Summer: The '67 Red Sox and the Impossible Dream," and "Born to Coach."