NBA and Boston Celtics great Bill Russell dies at the age of 88. He had a glorious NBA career and was also the first Black coach in the league
Bill Russell breathed his last on July 31, 2022. The NBA legend was one of the greatest to ever step foot on a basketball court. His impact on the court and outside of it was massive. Having made his way into the league in 1956, Russell won 11 championships. He was a born winner and remains to be the only player to capture 8 consecutive NBA titles.
Along with being an exceptional basketball player, Bill Russell never hesitated to speak out against racism. He played in an era where inequality suppressed talent. Russell was also subject to racism in the town he played – Boston. However, he fought back each time and this has helped a generation of talent to play the game without having to go through difficulties.
Bill Russell refused to play an exhibition game before the 1961-62 season because a local restaurant refused to provide service for him and his teammates. There are many such incidents that the legend had to face on his road to make it to the pinnacle of basketball greatness.
Russell was listed at 6 feet 10, but he had speed and that helped him become a great defender. He was a stellar rim protector and the second-best rebounder in the history of the league. Undoubtedly, there will never be anyone like him, as what he did for the game is what has helped it come so far along.
Bill Russell is one of the greatest champions in American Sports history. He was supremely talented and along with posting some unreal numbers, he also made sure that he made his teammates better. The Celtics great was a man who mastered the art of winning. He had 11 championships on his resume and his success in the Finals was such that the league decided to name the NBA Finals trophy as the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent out an official statement on the passing of Bill Russell. It read: “Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports. “The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics — including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards — only begin to tell the story of Bill’s immense impact on our league and broader society. Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league. At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps. Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.”
Even decades after retirement, Bill Russell continued to share his wisdom with other players and the upcoming talent. His death is a big loss not only to basketball but to all of American Sports.