NBA

11-Time Champion, NBA Legend Bill Russell Passes Away At 88

Jul 31, 2022, 12:06 PM | Updated: 12:10 pm

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BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: Member of the Boston Celtics 1966 Championship team Bill Russell is honored at halftime of the game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat at TD Garden on April 13, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

SALT LAKE CITY – Bill Russell, five-time NBA MVP and linchpin for 11 Boston Celtics championships, has passed away at 88 years old.

Russell’s family made the announcement in a statement earlier today, Sunday, July 31.

“Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. Bill’s wife Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded. And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6.”

About Bill Russell

Winning was synonymous with Bill Russell long before he played for the famed Boston Celtics.

He was born in Monroe, Louisiana on February 12, 1934.

After winning two high school state championships, Russell went west where he played for the San Francisco Dons in college.

Russell punctuated his college career by leading the Dons to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. With San Francisco he was twice named as an All-American and remains the USF all-time leading rebounder with 1,606 boards.

After being selected second overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1956 draft, Russell was immediately traded to the Boston Celtics for Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan.

With Boston, Russell would go on to become one of the greatest winners and leaders the NBA has ever seen.

In 13 seasons with the franchise, including three seasons as a player/coach, Russell helped the Celtics to 11 titles.

Among his other accolades, Russell was an Olympic gold medalist, a 12-time NBA all-star, 11-time All-NBA, led the league in rebounding four times and was a five-time NBA MVP.

Russell was also a social advocate, as evidenced by the NBA’s statement following his passing.

“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.”

Following his playing career, Russell spent four seasons as head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics and one year and the helm of the Sacramento Kings.

Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1975 and as a coach in 2021.

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11-Time Champion, NBA Legend Bill Russell Passes Away At 88