Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics star legend who claimed 11 NBA titles to his name including two as player-coach and became the first basketball’s black head coach, passed away on Sunday. Bill Russell passed away peacefully; however, the cause of death is not stated by his wife or other family members.
Bill had an entertaining career
Bill Russell, the 6-foot-10 center had a remarkable career began in college. He guided the University of San Francisco’s basketball team to NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956. He performed with the Celtics from 1956 to 1969 and won a gold medal with the United States team at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. Basketball analysts named him the best player in NBA history in 1980. He was a 12-time All-Star and a five-time Most Valuable Player. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama in 2011.
In a statement, Russell’s family thanked supporters for “keeping Bill in your prayers” and mentioned that his wife Jeannine was by his side. They said “Hope that with Bill’s unwavering, honorable, and consistently positive commitment to principle, each of us can discover a new way to act or speak up. That would be our favourite #6’s final and final victory.”
Russell, a civil rights activist, backed Muhammad Ali when he declined to serve in the Vietnam War draft and participated in the 1963 March on Washington. In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that “Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: The principles of equality, respect, and inclusiveness that he stamped into the DNA of our league.”
Adam Silver added:
“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.”
Russell was smart and outspoken off the court. Bill had an aggressive look as well as a charming laugh. He was both a “Star Trek” fan and intelligent. Bill may be incredibly polite with teammates and rivals yet being belligerent with the media. He once stated that he preferred to have talks than signing autographs.