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Bill Russell: Everything You Need To Know About The NBA Legend

William Felton “Bill” Russell was a professional basketball player who was the centrepiece of the Boston Celtics for 13 years. He is regarded as one of the best players in the history of the NBA. He was well-known for his shot-blocking skills and man-to-man defense, which helped his side win numerous big tournaments. The gifted footballer grew up in a neighbourhood known for its rampant racism. Basketball allowed him to rise beyond this negativity, and he grew up to prove his worth. He was also admired for his abilities to inspire and motivate his teammates to develop their playing techniques and give their all.

Equally adept at grabbing rebounds, he was one of only two players to have more than 50 rebounds in a single game and a dozen seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds. Russell’s superstardom was huge not just for his outstanding performances, but also because he was the first African-American player in NBA history to gain such prominence, in addition to being the first African-American to become an NBA coach.

Biography:

Born: February 12, 1934 in Monroe, Louisiana, USA

Died: July 31, 2022 (undisclosed)

Birth name: William Felton Russell

Height: 6′ 10″ (2.08 m)

Childhood & Personal Life:

Bill Russell hailed from West Monroe, Louisiana, born to Charles and Katie. He grew up in a racially segregated environment where his family was frequently subjected to racist incidents.

He had a tough childhood and was raised in poverty. His mother passed away when he was only twelve years old. He attended McClymonds High School, where he started playing basketball. His coach, George Powles, encouraged him to develop his talents and become a better player.

In his personal life, Bill Russell married his college love, Rose Swisher, in 1956. They had three children and got divorced in 1973. In 1977, he married Dorothy Anstett, the former Miss USA, a white woman. Their marriage was short-lived, and they divorced in 1980. His third marriage, to Marilyn Nault, lasted until she died in 2009. 

Net Worth:

Bill Russell had a net worth of $10 million when he died. Bill Russell passed away on July 31, 2022, at the age of 88.

Bill Russell is regarded as one of the greatest professional basketball players and overall athletes of all time. He was the first African-American athlete to achieve superstardom. He won 11 NBA championships while playing with the Boston Celtics between 1956 and 1969. He was the first black player to earn superstar status in the NBA, having won five MVP awards– first player ever to win three MVP awards in a row, and 12 All-Star games. Russell also led the United States’ gold medal-winning basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics.

Awards & Honours:

  • 1x NBA champion (1957, 1959 to 1966, 1968, 1969)
  • 2x NBA champion as player-coach (1968, 1969)
  • 5x NBA Most Valuable Player (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965)
  • 12x NBA All-Star (1958 to 1969)
  • 3x All-NBA First Team (1959, 1963, 1965)
  • 8x All-NBA Second Team (1958, 1960 to 1962, 1964, 1966 to 1968)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (1969)
  • 4x NBA rebounding champion (1958, 1959, 1964, 1965)

Fun Facts: 

  • In 1980, the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America named Bill Russell the “Greatest Player in the History of the NBA”.
  • In 2009, the NBA Finals MVP award was renamed in his honour.
  • In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement, both on and off the bench.

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Swastika Dubey
Swastika Dubey
Swastika's inclination towards sports, irrespective of the game, has often left her peers awestruck. She never misses a sporting event and devours every single piece of information pertaining to an athlete or their game. People who know her say that calling her a sports fanatic would be an understatement.

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