I didn’t say it would be easy but you know you can live no other way.

Elgin lived through some things during his career that we like to forget happened now. Lord knows how many racial slurs bounced off him, how many N-bombs were lobbed from the stands, how much prejudice he endured on a day-to-day basis as the league’s signature black star. Russell bottled everything up and used it as fuel for the next game: He wouldn’t suffer; his opponents would suffer. Oscar morphed into the angriest dude in the league, someone who screamed at his own teammates as much as the referees, a great player who played with an even greater chip on his shoulder. Elgin didn’t have the same mean streak. He loved to joke with teammates. He never stopped talking. He loved life and loved playing basketball. He couldn’t hide it. And so his body soaked up every ugly slight like a sponge.

ESPN Page 2 – Simmons: The forgotten pioneer.