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Here’s a look back at the life of Bill Russell, Hall of Fame center who played with the Boston Celtics.


date of birth: February 12, 1934

birth place: Monroe, Louisiana

birth name: William Felton Russell

father: Charles Russell

Mother: Katie (King) Russell

Weddings: Jeanine Fiorito (2016–present); Marilyn Nault (1996–January 2009, her death); Dorothy “Sister” Enstatt (1977–1980, divorced); Rose Swisher (1956–1973, divorced)

Children: With Rose Swisher: Karen, William Jr. “Buddha” and Jacob

education: University of San Francisco, BA, 1956

other facts

The six foot nine center is known for his defense and ability to block shots.

Won 11 NBA championships in his 13 years with the Boston Celtics in 1957, 1959–1966 and 1968–1969.

NBA Most Valuable Player five times in 1958, 1961–1963 and 1965.

twelve times NBA All-Star All-Star MVP from 1958-1969 and in 1963.

Between his coaching jobs, he served as a commentator for televised basketball games.

Founder and Emeritus Board Member Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership.

Playwright Charlie L. Russell’s younger brother.


1955 and 1956 – San Francisco takes the Dons back-to-back NCAA Basketball Championship And an undefeated season in 1956.

April 29, 1956 – Selected second overall in the NBA Draft by the St. Louis Hawks and then traded to the Boston Celtics.

November 1956 – Captain of the US men’s basketball team that won gold in Melbourne Olympics.

December 1956-1969 – Center with the Boston Celtics.

1966-1969 – Serves as the player-coach of the Boston Celtics, making him the first African-American head coach in the NBA.

1973-1977 – Head Coach and General Manager of the Seattle SuperSonics.

1975 – Russell is included in Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame But do not attend the ceremony.

November 1987-1988 – Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings.

2001 – A memoir/inspirational book, “Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner” is published.

February 2009 – NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that the Finals MVP Trophy will be renamed Bill Russell nba finals Most Valuable Player Award.

February 2011 – receives Presidential Medal of Freedom.

October 2011 – joins other players in class action lawsuits against the NCAA, Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company for using their likeness in videogames without permission or compensation.

16 October 2013 – Arrested for bringing a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun to Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle. He is issued and issued a State Citation.

November 1, 2013 – Russell’s bronze statue was unveiled at Boston City Hall Plaza. The statue is created by the Bill Russell Legacy Project, which also developed the Bill Russell Mentoring Grant Program.

17 July 2014 – Briefly hospitalized after falling on stage during speaking engagement Near Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Celtics executives later said that Russell was feeling better and expected to head home to Seattle the same day.

8 August 2014 – A federal judge rules in favor of Russell and other college athletes who sued to end the NCAA’s control over the rights to names, images, and likenesses of college athletes.

July 2015 – A federal judge approved a $60 million final settlement stemming from lawsuits involving Russell and other college athletes. The Collegiate Licensing Company and Electronic Arts case is settled for $40 million and the NCAA case is settled for $20 million, as agreed in 2014.

18 May 2018 – Was taken from his home in Seattle to the hospital due to dehydration. Russell was released the next day.

15 November 2019 – In a private ceremony, accepts his Basketball Hall of Fame ring from 1975. Russell Tweets that he “refused to be the first black player” to receive that honor and noted chuck cooper Who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in September 2019.

September 12, 2021 – is included In the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. Russell’s winning record as NBA head coach is 341–290 in the regular season and 34–27 in the playoffs.

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