Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, 11-time NBA champion, has died at the age of 88.

Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, 11-time NBA champion, has died at the age of 88.

Bill Russell, the cornerstone of the Boston Celtics dynasty who won eight consecutive titles and 11 overall in his career, died on Sunday. He was a Hall of Famer in ’88.

A statement posted on social media said Russell died “peacefully” with his wife Janine. It was also mentioned in the statement that arrangements for the memorial service will be announced soon.

But for all the winners, Bill’s understanding of the struggle is what brightened his life. In the year From boycotting an exhibition game in 1961 to exposing long-standing discrimination, Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in Medgar ignited. [Evers’] Murder, a decades-long movement finally recognized by receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom… Bill describes injustice with unapologetic honesty and disrupts the status quo, and despite his humble intentions, his statement forever evokes teamwork, selflessness, and intentional change.

“To Bill’s wife, Jeannie, and his many friends and family, thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you remember one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or his trademark recollection of his joy in explaining the true story, and we hope that each of us will find a new way to act or speak. And always a commitment to principle. That will be final and lasting for our love #6.”

Beginning as a junior at the University of San Francisco, Russell had the most impressive 15-year career of any player in team sports history. At USF, he was a two-time All-American, won two straight NCAA championships and led the team to a 55-game winning streak. And won the gold medal in the 1956 Olympics.

During his 13 years in Boston, he led the Celtics to the NBA Finals 12 times and won the championship 11 times.

In a statement Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver called Russell “the greatest champion in all of team sports.”

“I treasured my friendship with Bill and was thrilled when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I often refer to him as the Babe Ruth of basketball. Bill was the ultimate winner and the perfect teammate, and his impact on the NBA will be felt forever,” he said. .

A five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star, Russell was an elusive shot blocker who revolutionized NBA defensive concepts. He finished with 21,620 career rebounds — an average of 22.5 per game — and led the league in rebounding four times. He had 51 rebounds in one game and 49 in two others and 12 consecutive seasons with 1,000 or more tackles. Russell averaged 15.1 points and 4.3 assists in his career.

In the year Until Michael Jordan’s passing in the 1990s, Russell was considered by many to be the greatest player in NBA history.

In the year In 2011, Russell was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by former President Barack Obama. In the year In 2017, the NBA presented him with a lifetime achievement award.

William Felton Russell was born on February 12, 1934 in Monroe, Louisiana. His family moved to the Bay Area, where he attended McClymonds High School in Oakland. He was an awkward, unimpressive center on McClymonds’ basketball team, but his size earned him a scholarship to San Francisco, where he flourished.

In the year “I was an innovator,” Russell told The New York Times in 2011. I started blocking shots, even though I had never seen shots blocked before. The first time I did that in the game, my coach called a timeout and said, “No.” A good defensive player will walk away.’

Russell, however, teamed with guard Casey Jones to lead the Dons to 55 straight wins and national titles in 1955 and 1956. In the year Most outstanding player in 1955. He then led the US basketball team to victory in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

In the year As the 1956 NBA draft approached, Celtics coach and general manager Red Auerbach was eager to add Russell to the lineup. Auerbach had built a high-scoring offensive machine around guards in Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, and under center Ed McCauley, he thought the Celtics lacked the defensive prowess they needed to turn into a championship-caliber club. Russell, Auerbach felt, was the missing piece to the puzzle.

After the St. Louis Hawks selected Russell in the draft, Auerbach made a trade to land Russell for Ed McCauley.

The Boston five of Rule, Tommy Heinsohn, Cousy, Sharman and Jim Loscutf was a high-octane unit. The Celtics posted the best regular season record in the NBA in 1956-57 and waltzed to their first NBA title.

In the 1958 Finals, the Celtics and Hawks split the first two games at the Boston Garden. But Russell suffered an ankle injury in Game 3 and was unsuccessful the rest of the series. The Hawks finally won the six game streak.

After that, Russell and the Celtics choked on the NBA Finals, winning 10 titles in 11 years, giving professional basketball the kind of glory it had never seen before.

In the process, Russell revolutionized the game. He was a 6-foot-9 center whose lightning reflexes, shot blocking and other defensive tactics brought a fast break to full-time development.

In the year In 1966, after eight consecutive titles, Auerbach retired as coach and named Russell as his successor. It was hailed as a sociological breakthrough, because Russell was the first black coach of a major league team in any sport, even one that identified a team. But neither Russell nor Auerbach saw the move that way. They felt it was the easiest way to keep winning, and as player-coach, Russell won two more titles over the next three years.

Their biggest opponent was age. In the year After winning his 11th championship in 1969 at the age of 35, Russell retired, prompting a minor rebuild. In 13 seasons, the NBA grew from eight teams to 14. Russell’s Celtics did not need to survive three playoff rounds to win the title.

Bob Ryan, former Celtics beat writer for The Boston Globe, told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2019 that “if Bill Russell came back today with the same tools and mental energy, he would be the same guy he was when he entered the NBA in 1956.” “As an athlete, he was way ahead of his time. He could have won three, four or five championships, but he didn’t win 11 in 13 years.”

Along with several titles, Russell’s career is also partly defined by his rivalry with Wilt Chamberlain.

During the 1959-60 season, the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain averaged 37.6 points per game in his rookie year and made his debut against the Philadelphia Warriors. In the year On November 7, 1959, Russell’s Celtics hosted Chamberlain’s Warriors, and pundits called the matchup between the best offensive and defensive centers “The Greatest Clash” and “The Battle of the Titans.” Chamberlain Russell went on a 30-22 lead as the Celtics won 115-106, and the game was called “Basketball’s New Beginning.”

The matchup between Russell and Chamberlain became one of basketball’s greatest rivalries. One of the Celtics’ titles came with Chamberlain’s San Francisco Warriors in 1964.

Although Chamberlain outplayed Russell in 142 career head-to-head games (28.7 rebounds per game to 23.7, 28.7 points per game to 14.5) and their entire career (22.9 RPG to 22.5, 30.1 PPG to 15.1). Russell usually got the points as the better player overall, mainly because his teams won 87 (61%) of those games.

In the eight playoff games between the two, Russell and the Celtics have won seven. Russell has 11 championship rings; Chamberlain has only two.

Chamberlain He told the Boston Herald in 1995: “I was a badass, and Bill was a funny guy back then and he really had a personality.” Great Laughs: Plus, it’s played by a great team.

“My team lost and his was the winner, so it’s natural that I’m jealous. It’s not true. I’m very happy with the way things turned out. Overall, he was very good, and this only helped to bring out the best in me.”

After Russell retired from basketball, his place in history secure, he moved into wider fields, hosting radio and television talk shows and writing newspaper columns on general topics.

In the year In 1973, Russell took over the 6-year-old expansion franchise as coach and general manager. A year ago, the Sonics won 26 games and sold 350 season tickets. Under Russell, they won 36, 43, 43 and 40, which made the playoffs twice. By the time they left, they had 5,000 season tickets and a strong base to reach the NBA Finals series the next two years.

Russell reportedly became frustrated with the players’ refusal to accept the team’s proposal. Some suggested that the problem was Russell himself; He was said to be aloof, sentimental and unable to accept anything other than Celtic tradition. Ironically, Lenny Wilkens led Seattle to a championship two years later, preaching the same team ideals that Russell tried to mold.

A decade after leaving Seattle, Russell made another attempt at the start of the 1987-88 season, replacing Jerry Reynolds as the Sacramento Kings’ coach. The team went on to a 17-41 record, and Russell left midway through the season.

Between coaching sessions, Russell appeared as a color commentator on televised basketball games. For a time he was paired with his equal, Rick Barry, and the two provided brutal commentary on the game. Although he wasn’t comfortable with that setting, Russell told the Sacramento Bee, “The most successful television is done with eight-second ideas, and the things I know about basketball, motivation and people go deeper than that.”

He has acted in Seattle Children’s Theater and the show “Miami Vice,” and wrote the provocative autobiography “Second Wind.”

In the year In 1974, Russell was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 1980, he was named the greatest player in NBA history by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America. He was part of the 75th Anniversary Team announced by the NBA in October 2021.

In the year In 2013, Boston honored Russell with a statue at City Hall Plaza.


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