It is with heavy hearts that we found out about the peaceful passing of basketball legend Bill Russell at the age of 88. In his career, the man won 11 championships in 13 years total with the Boston Celtics. Additionally, he became the first black coach in North America when he became a player-coach in ’66 for the Celtics. A true patriarch for sports that now have many coaches that are black.
For his career (’56-’69), Russell averaged 15.1 points, 4.3 assists and 22.5 rebounds a night. Those are amazing numbers and led him to be an All-Star 12 times (keep in mind the three-point line was not introduced until ’79 in the NBA).
Basketball stats aside, Russell was an advocate for civil rights in this country and beyond. He won the Presidental Medal of Freedom from then-president Barack Obama. Two years later, a statue of Russell was unveiled on Boston’s City Hall Plaza. – Via. NBA.com
This statement was posted on social media:
“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,” the family statement said. “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.”
Of course, there are a lot of great basketball players that will be remembered for many years long after they, unfortunately, pass away. What is so amazing about Russell compared to some of the others is everything he stood for and everything he did off the court itself. That is how he will be remembered for eternity.
Cherish those in your life while you have them. It is true that Legends Never Die and that is certainly the case with Bill Russell.
Rest in Peace.