Bill Russell, one of the greatest players to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) has passed away at the age of 88.
Russell set records previously unseen during his 13-year NBA career for the Boston Celtics.
He won an unprecedented 11 titles, a record which still stands to this day. He also made 12 trips to the All-Star Game, won five MVP awards, and was twice named a first-team All-NBA selection.
In 1975, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Standing a massive 6-foot-10 and playing as a center, he averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game over the course of his career, solidifying himself as one of the most dominant centers of all time.
He made the selections for the league’s 25th, 35th, 50th, and 75th-anniversary teams.
Rusell succeeded Red Auerbach as the Celtics’ bench boss late in his career, serving as a player-coach from 1966 to 1969. By doing so, he became the first Black head coach in North American pro sports history.
He also made a huge impact off the court as a civil rights activist, often facing racism from fans and establishments as did other Black players of the time.
In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, highlighting the historical precedent Russell set by breaking the coaching color barrier among his many other achievements.
Russell remains his franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds, win shares, and defensive win shares. The Celtics retired his No. 6 jersey in March 1972.
NBA paid homage to Bill Russell by naming its finals trophy after him in 2019.