Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson and his wife, Linda Alioto-Robinson, had the opportunity to meet and become friends with Celtics legend Bill Russell, through Linda’s work as the executive director of the Mass. Mentoring Partnership Program.
In fact, Alioto-Robinson worked closely with Mr. Russell when she was called upon
in 1999 to organize a major event in Boston to promote his relationship with the mentorship program and recognize his many accomplishments.
“He was on the National Mentoring Partnership Board that was based out of Washington, D.C., which was our parent organization,” recalled Alioto-Robinson.
The event, held at the Boston Garden, was a tremendous success under the administration of Alioto-Robinson and a supportive event-planning team.
“Every basketball player in the NBA showed up – Tiny Archibald, Dr. J, Charles Barkley, just to name a few,” said Leo Robinson. “He gave our daughter, Lucia (now the head coach of the MIT women’s basketball team) an authentic Celtics No. 6 jersey. We became very close with him through all the Mass Mentoring events that we attended.”
Several Chelsea residents, including Chelsea Cable Television Executive Director Robert “Duke” Bradley and Athletic Director Frank DePatto, were invited to the event that honored Mr. Russell.
Leo Robinson was later instrumental in coordinating Mr. Russell’s guest speaking appearance at Chelsea High School. The Chelsea students were understandably awe-struck by meeting and interacting with Mr. Russell, one of the greatest professional athletes of all time (11 NBA championships, two NCAA championships, and one Olympic gold medal).
Alioto-Robinson said as she watched the news coverage following Mr. Russell’s passing on July 31, 2022, she had one thought: “He was just a wonderful, wonderful person.”