It was announced Sunday morning that long-time Celtics player Bill Russell passed away at 88. The sports world has been shaken up, and understandably so.
Russell was an 11 time champion and won two championships as a head coach. He became the first black NBA head coach. He was an activist, all-star, leader and more. He walked next to Martin Luther King Jr. and held up Jackie Robinson’s casket during his funeral. The man wasn’t only a basketball icon—he was an American spectacle.
On the court, the man was no slouch either. Five-time MVP player, 12-time all-star, three-time All-NBA First Team, his number retired in Boston with a statue to go along with it. He also won two NCAA championships in college while at San Francisco.
Russell won a championship his rookie year while averaging a double double with 19 rebounds and 14 points a night. Not one single time did he average under 10 rebounds throughout his career. He was a huge part of the reason the Celtics were fighting for their 18th championship in June. The years he spent going up against the Lakers almost every single year in the finals will sit in the history of sports forever.
He played center his entire NBA playing career, however, he did it all. On and off the court. So much that players from every single sport have spoken up since the time of his death. He meant so much for the game of basketball and black people around the globe. He dealt with Celtics’ fans saying the upmost disrespectful things to him.
Russell created the winning culture that Boston fans have grown accustomed to. Whether it’s the Red Sox, Patriots, or Bruins we expect greatness. We’ve been seeing it happen since the 60’s. Many teams come and go—except for Boston—and Russell was the reason for that.
Bill Russell was a true champion.