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Entertainment Bill Russell, Legendary Basketball Player and Coach, Dies at 88

22:01  31 july  2022
22:01  31 july  2022 Source:   thewrap.com

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NBA's legendary 11-time champion Bill Russell died Saturday, it was announced on his official Twitter account. He was 88.

Bill Russell © Provided by TheWrap Bill Russell

Russell holds the record for the most championships won by any player in NBA history and is tied with Montreal Canadiens hockey star Henri Richard for the most won by any athlete in a North American sports league. Russell won all 11 of his championship rings with the Boston Celtics between 1957 and 1969, including eight consecutive between 1959 and 1966. He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1975 and again as a coach in 2021.

Bill Russell, NBA great and Celtics legend, dies at 88

  Bill Russell, NBA great and Celtics legend, dies at 88 BOSTON (AP) — Bill Russell, the NBA great who anchored a Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years — the last two as the first Black head coach in any major U.S. sport — and marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr., died Sunday. He was 88. His family posted the news on social media, saying Russell died with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. The statement did not give the cause of death. “Bill's wife, Jeannine, andHis family posted the news on social media, saying Russell died with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. The statement did not give the cause of death.

Russell's last two championships with the Celtics in 1968 and 1969 were also achieved with him as a player-coach, replacing his legendary coach Red Auerbach after his retirement at the end of the 1966-67 season and becoming the first Black coach in NBA history. Many of Russell's victories came at the expense of the Los Angeles Lakers, as Russell defeated legends like Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain in the NBA Finals.

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In a league that for decades has prized scoring over all, Russell became a legendary player not through his offense but through his defense. Alongside Chamberlain, he is the only player to have made more than 50 rebounds in a single game and made more than 1,000 rebounds in 12 straight seasons.

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Along with his basketball success, Russell was known for his fight against racism before, during and after the Civil Rights Era. In several interviews, Russell discussed how he and his Black teammates faced racist abuse even at the peak of their success. As he won a pair of NCAA titles for the University of San Francisco, Russell faced taunts and slurs from white students, and during much of his Celtics career, he was forced to stay in segregated hotels when the team played road games in the Jim Crow South. He also pointed out how attendance at the Boston Garden was much higher for the all-white Boston Bruins hockey team than it was for the Celtics during much of his career despite being the basketball team's much greater success.

In 1967, Russell was one of ten Black athletes who joined boxing legend Muhammad Ali to support his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War. Other athletes present included UCLA basketball star and future Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Cleveland Browns football star Jim Brown. His frustration with the racist treatment he received in Boston during his career led to decades of much publicized animosity with Celtics fans and even refusing to attend his number retirement ceremony at the Boston Garden in 1972. Russell finally had a moment of reconciliation with Boston and the Celtics fans when the team hung his number in the rafters of their new arena, the TD Garden, in 1999.

Bill Russell dies at 88: NBA world reacts to death of Celtics legend and civil rights pioneer

  Bill Russell dies at 88: NBA world reacts to death of Celtics legend and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell dies at 88: NBA world reacts to death of Celtics legend and civil rights pioneerIn an announcement shared on Twitter by his family, Russell passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 31, with his wife by his side.

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For his achievements both on and off the court, the NBA renamed its Finals MVP trophy after Russell in 2009, with the legend on hand to present the trophy to Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. Two years later, President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

"Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "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."

No further details of about his passing or cause of death have been released.

Retiring Bill Russell's No. 6 ensures his legacy of equality and justice endures | Opinion .
Bill Russell joins Jackie Robinson and Wayne Gretzksy as the only players in American professional sports to have their numbers retired leaguewide.Whoever brought him or her to the game will explain that some are to commemorate the titles the team has won while others are to honor the team’s best players. And that No. 6? That, the child will be told, is to honor the great Bill Russell, who won more championships than anybody else and who stood taller than his 6-foot-10 frame in fighting racism and other social injustices.

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