Bill Russell

Article

August 19, 2022

William Fenton "Bill" Russell (Monroe, Louisiana; February 12, 1934 - Mercer Island, Washington; July 31, 2022) was an American basketball player who played thirteen seasons for the Boston Celtics of the NBA. He was 2.08 meters tall, he played in the position of pivot. He was the standard bearer of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven championships in thirteen years, and reached ten consecutive finals (winning eight consecutive titles). He was named MVP of the season five times, was the leading rebounder of the year four times, although he was only three times in the best quintet of the year. He appeared eight times in the second best quintet in the NBA. He is considered one of the best defenders in NBA history. His blocks and man defense were one of the biggest reasons for the success of the Celtics franchise, and he inspired many other players to improve their defensive game. He also had a notable role as a rebounder. He grabbed a total of 21,620 rebounds during his career, becoming one of only two players (along with Wilt Chamberlain) to grab 50 or more rebounds in a game. Despite not being a player famous for his offensive role, he scored 14,522 points. He has been part of the Basketball Hall of Fame since 1975 and in 1996 he was named one of the 50 best players in NBA history. He is also part of two other historic NBA selections: NBA 25th Anniversary Team (1971) and NBA 35th Anniversary Team (1980). In September 2021 he entered the Hall of Fame, this time as a coach, something that only four people have achieved before: (John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens, Bill Sharman and Tom Heinsohn).

Childhood

He was born in Monroe, Louisiana. His parents were Charles and Katie Russell. His parents were strong victims of racism. Because of this they moved from Louisiana to Oakland. There they fell into poverty and lived in housing projects. That's not why he stopped going to school and excelled as a basketball player.

Pre-NBA

On the varsity team Bill Russell already showed his great potential to block and recover the ball. In San Francisco he won 55 games and two national championships playing in the NCAA.

San Francisco

The only college in the area where Bill could have a basketball scholarship was at the University of San Francisco (USF), where his first coach was Phil Woolpert. In 1954 Woolpert coached the first team in an official league with three African Americans: Hal Perry, K.C. Jones, and Russell, who unfortunately, were the target of insults from everyone. But it did so much for him, leading the team to victories in 1955 and 1956 and winning 55 games. One of his biggest feats in the NCAA was blocking 13 shots in a game, and he also had high percentages in rebounds and field goals.

The Olympic Games

After graduating he went to Melbourne, Australia where he played in the Olympic games and won the gold medal with the USA team. In this team he was again matched with his former teammate K.C. Jones among others.

Boston Celtics

On April 29, 1956, he joined this team of the American NBA Basketball league. The team's manager, Red Auerbach, took the two best players on that team, Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan, from the team, hoping that Russell could replace them, and so the new star with the number 6 went go over the tables Russell's first year with the Boston Celtics already won a ring with Bob Cousy at point guard, Tom Heinsohn at guard, Jim Loscutoff at wing, Jack Nichols at power forward and Bill Russell at center. In February 1958 he participated in the all-star game that won him accompanied by Dolph Schayes and Larry Costello of the Syracuse Nationals, Willie Naulls, Richie Guerin and Ken Sears of the New York