All-time great Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, who won 11 championships during 13 major NBA seasons, died Sunday at the age of 88.
According to an announcement on Russell’s official Twitter page, the Hall of Famer died peacefully with his wife, Jeanine.
A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, 6-foot-10 Russell averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game during his career from 1956 to 1969, playing each of his seasons for the Celtics during a dynasty in which Superstars like Bob were teammates. Kausi and Jon Havlisek.
He was a 12-time All-Star, a five-time rebounding champion, and was included in the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary lists of the greatest players of all time.
Russell won his first of nine championships with prolific Celtics coach Red Auerbach. Russell then became the first black coach in professional sports in North America in 1966, spending his last three seasons as a player-coach with the Celtics.
His last two championships came as player-coach, making Russell the first black coach to win a professional championship in North America.
“But for all to win, Bill’s understanding of the struggle illuminated his life,” reads Sunday’s announcement.
“From boycotting the 1961 exhibition game to exposing long-tolerated discrimination, to decades of activism in the combustible wake of the murder of Medgar Evans at Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp, to finally President of Independence in 2010 Recognized by his receipt of the medal, Bill invoked injustice with an apologetic candor that he intended to disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example, though never his humble intention, always of teamwork, selflessness. and will inspire thoughtful change.”
Born in Monroe, LA, Russell won NCAA championships with the University of San Francisco in 1955 and 1956, before being selected second overall in the 1956 NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks, who traded him to the Celtics.
Russell’s impact was immediate, averaging nearly 15 points and 20 rebounds per game as a rookie and helping lead Boston to its first NBA championship.
Known for his incredible defense, Russell won eight consecutive NBA titles with the Celtics from 1959 to 1966, and famously went undefeated in the 10 winner-takes-all postseason Games 7 in which he played.
He averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in 10 different seasons, and finished second in his career with 21,620 rebounds, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain, who recorded 23,924 in 14 seasons.
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Russell also won an Olympic gold medal with Team USA at the 1956 Games in Melbourne.
The Celtics retired Russell’s No. 6 in 1972, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1975.
Following his playing career, Russell coached the Seattle SuperSonics from 1973–77 and the Sacramento Kings from 1987–88. He claimed a career coaching record of 341-290, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year for the second time as a coach.
News of Russell’s death shook the sports world, with current Celtics stars Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown paying tribute to him on Sunday.
“Thanks for everything! RIP legend,” tweeted Tatum, 24.
Brown, 25, shared a photo with Russell, whom he called “one of the greatest athletes of all time”.
“Thank you for leading the way and inspiring so many people,” Brown posted. “Today is a sad day, but also a great day to celebrate his legacy and what he stood for. I’m honored to spend time with you @RealBillRussell Thank you for everything you stood for. ,