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Bill Russell

Cornerstone of the Boston Celtics' Dynasty

So he says, "I'm going to make a list of six guys, and you make a list of six guys. And we find one guy that fits on both lists, that could be our new coach." There was no match. So he says, "Well, I'm going to hire this guy." I says, "Oh no. If you hire this guy " -- he brought his name up -- " if you hire him, I'm retiring with you." He says, "You mean that?" "Yes, I do. I'm not going to play for him. I don't even want to be in the same room with him." And so he said, "What do you want me to do?" I go, "Okay. I'll take it. You offered it to me first, I'll take it. But if it doesn't work -- and we'll see whether it works or not -- we can bring in somebody else, even if it's midseason and I will never complain and I'll play just as hard for him as I play for you." Because we were both interested in what was good for the Celtics and not what makes him look good or me look good or bad or whatever. It has nothing to do with anything. That's how I became the player-coach. But one thing I have to add is that, because I'm kind of hard-headed, I refused to have an assistant coach. And one of the reasons -- not the total reason, but one of the reasons -- was I knew that to do a good job right I had to completely, totally immerse myself into the position. And if I hired an assistant coach I would start laying off things for him to do that I should be doing, things that I watched Red do for ten years. See, he never had an assistant coach. Like one time he said to me, "Do you want me to hire you an assistant coach?" I said, "Yeah, we'll just hire one of yours." He had never had one!
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

At times it was quite painful that your whiteness, whether you liked it or not, followed you all the way through. Even when I was blown up afterwards, my white body counted for more than the bodies of black people who were blown up, who were tortured far more severely than I was tortured. The world, the press, the media, controlled by people -- white themselves -- seeing the world through white eyes. Not even maliciously, just automatically. That's their standpoint, their point of reference. And so my amputation, my body counted for something. And then I had to think, "Well, what do I do about it?" And I said, "Well, it gives me access. It gives me a chance to speak." The New York Times had a full page spread, "Broken But Unbroken," with a lovely picture. At least I can be like an ambassador for all the others whose voices aren't heard. I must use this space and opportunities that they've got, even if they come with a privilege, to fight for justice in our country. But at times it was painful, even in prison.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

I might say I discovered years later, after democracy was beginning to come to South Africa, and I was interviewed by Anthony Lewis, a columnist for The New York Times, about my attitude to the white guards and the others, and I explained that I felt I ought to be more angry than I was. And I said, "There's something wrong with me." He said, "You know, I've just spoken to Nelson Mandela. He said the same thing. And I've spoken to Walter Sisulu -- said the same thing -- and Ahmed Kathrada, who said the same thing." And I realized I belonged to a culture, a generation based on the values of the Freedom Charter. We were fighting against a system, a system of injustice. We weren't fighting against a race. We were fighting for a better country, a better society. That system, which had not only oppressed and imprisoned black people in terms of their hopes and their possibilities, but imprisoned whites in fear and narrowness and inwardness and arrogance and greed. That's what liberation meant. That's what emancipation meant.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

And he (Oliver Tambo) said, "We've captured a number of people who were sent from Pretoria to destroy the organization. And we don't have any regulations about how they should be treated. The ANC is a political organization. It has an annual general meeting in terms of its statutes, and elects its leadership. You pay your subscription. You agree to the aims and objects. Political parties don't have provisions for locking people up and putting them on trial and deciding what to do with them. Can you help us?" And possibly the most important project -- legal project -- of my life emerged from that. He said, "It's very difficult, isn't it, to know what the standards are for treatment of captives?" In a rather cocky way, I said, "Well, not so difficult. We have international instruments that say no torture, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment." He said, "We use torture." I couldn't believe it. ANC -- fighting for freedom -- we use torture? He said it with a bleak face, and that was why he wanted me in there because what to do about it? The security people had captured these rascals who were trying to blow up the leadership and introduce poison and do all sorts of terrible things. They were beating them up. I didn't know at the time. I didn't know the details. They did emerge later, but he knew the details. And so we prepared our whole document, which was nothing short of a code of criminal law and procedure for a liberation movement in exile, without courts, without police force, without prisons. But how to deal with those people. The host country said, "It's your problem. Our courts are busy enough. You deal with it." So we had to establish a code of legality, and a concept of fundamental human rights. Fundamental human rights. No torture, no abuse, no ill treatment, whoever they are, whatever they're trying to do.
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Albie Sachs

Constitutional Court of South Africa

The ANC had a delegates conference, basically ANC people in exile -- a few from underground in South Africa -- in a small town called Kabwe in central Zambia. And we were surrounded by Zambian troops, in case commandos from the apartheid government regime came to take us all out and destroy us. We were discussing a future democracy in South Africa and fundamental rights for everybody. But in particular, we were discussing what to do with captives who'd been sent to destroy us and kill us, and should it be possible to use what were called -- euphemistically called -- intensive methods of interrogation. And one by one, I still remember so strongly the delegates coming. Some of them were in Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC, young people, and saying, "No. We don't use torture whatever the circumstances, whoever the enemy is, whatever the dangers, because we're not like that. We are fighting for life. How can we be against life and disrespect the human personality even of those sent to kill us and destroy us?" I felt so proud. As a lawyer I felt, you know, we lawyers, we speak about rule of law and no torture, and it's easy for us in our relatively comfortable lives. These were people risking danger every day in their work and their lives -- from very, very poor backgrounds -- insisting on those core elements that kept us together as an organization. We didn't want to become like the others.
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Jonas Salk

Developer of Polio Vaccine

The idea of evolution by design, designing the future, anticipating the future. I think of the need for more wisdom in the world, to deal with the knowledge that we have. At one time we had wisdom, but little knowledge. Now we have a great deal of knowledge, but do we have enough wisdom to deal with that knowledge? I define wisdom as the capacity to make retrospective judgments prospectively. I think these are human qualities, human attributes that need to be brought out, need to be drawn upon, need to be valued.
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