BOSTON (AP) (AP) Bill Russell redefined how basketball is played. Later, changed the way that sports are perceived in a country that is racially divided.
The most prolific player throughout NBA in history. Bill Russell participated in the marches of Martin Luther King Jr. He was truly a staunch supporter of Muhammad Ali. Furthermore, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama. The mainstay of the Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in the span of 13 decades. Russell earned his last two NBA title as a player-coach. Hence, being the only Black coaching position in any U.S. game.
Bill Russell passed away on Sunday, at the age of 88. His family announced the announcement on social media. Hence, stating that his spouse, Jeannine, was by his side. The post did not provide the reason for the death. However, Bill Russell wasn’t well enough to be able to accept his NBA Finals. That is, MVP trophy in June because of a lengthy illness.
“Bill’s wife, Jeannine, and his numerous family and friends thank them to keep Bill in your thoughts and prayers. Maybe you’ll remember some or two beautiful moments he provided us. Alternatively, remember his signature laugh when he reminisced. That is, about the true story of the events. These are events that transpired,” the statement from the family read. “And we’re hoping that each one of us will find ways to live our lives. Otherwise, express our opinions with the same impervious, dignified. Finally, always adroit dedication to the principles.
“That could be a final and lasting win in the name of our favourite #6.”
An announcement… pic.twitter.com/KMJ7pG4R5Z
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) July 31, 2022
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that Russell was “the greatest athlete in all the team sport.”
“Bill was a symbol of something larger than sports. He stood for the ideals of respect. Also, equality and inclusion that he inscribed into the very DNA of our sport. At the peak of his career in sports. Bill advocated vigorously for the rights of civil society and for social justice. Furthermore, passed his legacy on to the next generation of NBA players who followed His footsteps” Silver said. “Through the threats, taunts and devastation that was unimaginable. Bill rose above it everything. Furthermore, held to his conviction that every person deserves the right to treat everyone with respect.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s statement regarding the passing of Bill Russell. pic.twitter.com/3BcZDnKjxK
— NBA (@NBA) July 31, 2022
A Hall of Inductee Five-time Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star. Named by the writers for basketball in the NBA history as the best player in 1980. Russell remains the sport’s most decorated player — Russell also won two NCAA championships. Also, the Olympic gold medal. Furthermore, an example of selflessness who was able to win with defensive. In addition to this, rebounding skills while others had a record-breaking scoring score.
Oft, this meant Wilt Chamberlain. The sole worthy opponent of Russell’s time and his main rival for MVP trophies. Also, the rebounds and arguments in the bar about who was the better player. Chamberlain who died in 1999, aged 63, scored double the amount of points, four MVP awards of his own. In addition to this. He is the only player in the history of the league. That is, to have more rebounding than Russell 2392 to 21,620.
However, Russell won in the sole statistic. He was interested in 11 championships to just two.
This native from Louisiana also left an indelible impression as a Black player. Especially, in a city and a country in which race is often an issue of contention. He was present at the March on Washington in 1963. A historical march where Martin King Luther delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Accused of being a traitor. Further, supported intensely from Russell was the iconic legendary boxer Mohammad Ali. That is, for not accepting induction to the draft.
“To be the best player in your sport and to change how the playing of the game. Furthermore, also to be an influential leader in society. Hence, all simultaneously is unimaginable. However, that’s exactly who Bill Russell was,” the Boston Celtics said in a statement.
As of 2011, Obama presented Russell with the Medal of Freedom. This is alongside Congressman John Lewis. Also, billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Further, then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Finally, the baseball great Stan Musial.
“Bill Russell The man was a man who stood for equality. Also, for the right to dignity for every man,” Obama said at the event. “He marched with King and and he stood up for Ali. When a restaurant refused provide those who were Black Celtics. He refused to participate in the game scheduled. He was subject to insults and vandalism. However, he continued insisting on making his teammates who he loved as more effective players. He also contributed to the accomplishment of many others who would be able to follow.”
Russell stated that while growing up in the separated South. Then afterwards California his parents instilled in him a peace of mind. A mental peace that enabled him to elude racism-related insults.
“Years after, people would ask me what I was going to endure,” Russell said in the year 2008. “Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, I’ve never had to go through anything. From the moment I began being alive. Hence, was the idea that my parents were my greatest fans.” Russell’s mother who used to tell him to not listen. Especially to naysayers & to comments from anyone. That is, comments who may observe him in the backyard.
“Whatever they say, whether good or not they’re not aware of what you are,” she said to him. “They’re grappling with their own personal demons.”
It wasn’t Jackie Robinson who gave Russell an outline. Specifically, of how to deal with the issue of racism in his sport: “Jackie was a hero for us. He was always an adult. He showed me how to be a professional in sports.”
The feelings were mutual, Russell learned, when the widow of Robinson, Rachel, called and wanted him to serve. Hence, as a pallbearer in the funeral of her husband in 1972.
“She ended the call and I pondered “How did you become a be a hero for Jackie Robinson?'” Russell declared. “I was so elated.”
William Felton Russell was born on February 12th, 1934 at Monroe, Louisiana. He was just a kid when his family relocated towards in the West Coast. Also, he attended the high school of Oakland, California. Also, later to the University of San Francisco. He helped lead his team the Dons in winning NCAA championships. That is, in both 1955 and 1956. Furthermore, also won the bronze medal during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The event which was held in Australia.
Celtics general manager and coach Red Auerbach so coveted Russell that he agreed to an arrangement to the St. Louis Hawks. That is, for the second selection of the draft. He also promised that the Rochester Royals, who owned the number 1 selection. Hence, a lucrative trip with his team. The Ice Capades, which were also owned under Celtics manager Walter Brown.
However, Russell arrived in Boston with complaints about his performance. all that great. “People claimed it was a bad draft selection, and wasted funds,” he recalled. “They claimed that he was not good. He can only rebound and block shots. Then Red said”That’s all you need.'”
The Celtics also drafted Tommy Heinsohn and K.C. Jones Russell’s college teammate from this same draft. While Russell was drafted later due to his role in taking his team. Most practically, in the U.S. to the Olympic gold medal. Boston ended its regular campaign with most successful record in the league.
The Celtics took home their first NBA title. That is, the first championship of 17 -in a double-overtime seven match against the Bob Pettit’s St. Louis Hawks. Russell was awarded his very first MVP award in the following season. However, the Hawks were victorious in a rematch of the finals. The Celtics took the title the following year. Kicking- off an unbeatable streak that saw eight straight NBA titles.
The 6-foot-ten centre Russell was never averaging over 18.9 points in his 13 seasons. Hence, with each year recording more in rebounds than points. For the past 10 seasons. He averaged over 20 rebounds. He had once recorded 51 rebounds in one game. Chamberlain is the record holder for most rebounds with 55.
Auerbach quit after winning the championship in 1966. Also, Russell became the coach-player one of the very first Black head coach in NBA history. It was also a decade prior to when Frank Robinson took over baseball’s Cleveland Indians. Boston was second in the league with its best season-long record of the NBA. Furthermore, the title streak came to an end. That is, when it lost in the finals to Chamberlain. Hence, as well as The Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Division finals.
Russell played a key role in bringing the Celtics to their first championships in 1968 and ’69. Both, winning a seven-game playoff series against Chamberlain. Russell quit following the finals of ’69. Hence, after which he returned for a productive. But, ultimately unfulfilling time as the GM. As well as the coach of the Seattle Supersonics. Furthermore, a less productive half-season as head coach for the Sacramento Kings.
Russell’s No. 6 jersey was taken off in 1972 by his team the Celtics after 1972. He was named to the NBA’s 25th anniversary all-time in 1970. The 35th anniversary team in 1980. Finally, the team celebrating 75 years. He was named a player of the year in 1996. Also, received a kudos by the league. Hence, as being one of its 50 best players.
As of 2009 the MVP Trophy from the NBA Finals was named in his honour of him. Even though Russell never himself won it. Hence, as it wasn’t given in the beginning until. Russell has, however, historically awarded the prize for a number of years. Additionally, with the final presentation was in the year 2019 for Kawhi Leonard. Bill Russell did not receive the trophy in 2020. Due to the NBA bubble. Nor, in year 2021 due to COVID-19 issues.
In 2013 the statue was unveiled in the Boston’s City Hall Plaza of Russell. Ironically, with blocks of granite with quotes about charisma and leadership. Bill Russell was admitted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. However, he did not participated in the ceremony. Hence, claiming in the end. Obviously, that the Hall of Fame should not have made him among the first African-American elected. (Chuck Cooper was who was the first NBA Black player was his personal choice.)
In the year 2019, Bill Russell took the Hall of Fame ring in an intimate gathering.
“I thought that people before me ought to have the same privilege,” he tweeted. “Good to see that we are making progress.”
Silver stated that he “often was called (Russell) the basketball’s Babe Ruth for how he overcame time.”
“Bill has been the most successful winner and a consummate teammate. His impact in the NBA will be felt for a lifetime,” Silver added. “We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Jeannine. Also, to his family, and all his numerous friends.”
Russell’s family announced that arrangements for the funeral will be made public. That is, in the next few days time.