HomeNewsBill Russell, 11-Time NBA Champion and Boston Celtics Legend Dies at 88

Bill Russell, 11-Time NBA Champion and Boston Celtics Legend Dies at 88

We are sad to share the bad news with you but NBA star and Boston Celtics legend, Bill Russell is dead. The basketball champion passed away at the age of 88. He changed the way the game of basketball was played back in the day.

Bill was one of the most impactful players in the history of American history. The news of Russell’s death was shared by his family on his official social media handles on Instagram and Twitter. Keep reading further to know the cause of Bill’s death.

Bill’s family shared the news of his death on social media

Bill Russell’s family issued a heart-touching statement regarding the passing away of the NBA legend. Bill died at the age of 88 on Sunday, July 31, 2022, in Mercer Island, Washington, United States. It has been stated that he passed away with his wife Jeannine by his side.

The statement read, “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.”

Bill’s family went on to say, “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.”

The cause of Russell’s death was not revealed in the statement issued by his family. It seems like he was not good to present the NBA Finals MVP trophy in June due to a long illness.

When did Bill start playing basketball?

Bill Russell was born on February 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana, U.S. At that point, he and his family faced racism in their daily lives. His family moved out of Louisiana and settled in Oakland, California when he was 8 years old. He shared a closer bond with his mom Katie than with his dad Charles.

In his early years, Russell struggled to develop his skills as a basketball player. He was a good runner and jumper but he did not get the game of basketball and was cut from the team at Herbert Hoover Junior High School.

Bill was almost cut again when he was a freshman at McClymonds High School in Oakland, but his coach George Powles saw potential in him and motivated him to work on his fundamentals. Soon afterward, he became noted for his unusual sense of defense.

Later on, Russell said, “To play good defense … it was told back then that you had to stay flatfooted at all times to react quickly. When I started to jump to make defensive plays and to block shots, I was initially corrected, but I stuck with it, and it paid off.”

Bill was picked up by the Boston Celtics in the 1956 NBA draft. From there on, he didn’t look back. Throughout his career, he won 11 NBA Championships as a player, 2 NBA Championships as a coach, 2 NCAA Championships, 5 NBA MVPs, and 11-time All-NBA player.

Bill was honored with the Medal of Freedom in 2011

Barack Obama awarded Russell with the Medal of Freedom alongside billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Congressman John Lewis, then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and baseball great Stan Musial in the year 2011.

At that time, during the ceremony, Obama said, “Bill Russell, the man, is someone who stood up for the rights and dignity of all men. He marched with King; he stood by Ali. When a restaurant refused to serve the Black Celtics, he refused to play in the scheduled game. He endured insults and vandalism, but he kept on focusing on making the teammates who he loved better players and made possible the success of so many who would follow.”

Icons pay tribute to the NBA Celtics legend

NBA commissioner Adam Silver paid a tribute to Bill and described him as the “greatest champion in all of the team sports.” He wrote, “Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect, and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league.”

Silver further added, “At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps. Through the taunts, threats, and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.”

Boston Celtics put out a statement that read, “To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was.”

Golden State Warriors also paid a tribute to Bill and wrote, “Bill Russell, who spent many of his formative years in the Bay Area, was a true giant in the game of basketball, and more importantly, in the game of life. While the accolades on the court were immense, it was his overall impact as a pioneer that will leave the greatest legacy.”

Earvin Magic Johnson expressed his thoughts on Bill’s death by writing, “I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of the greatest winner the game of basketball has ever seen, a legend, hall of famer, mentor and my friend for over 30 years, Bill Russell.”

Former president of the United States, Barack Obama tweeted, “Today, we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher—both as a player and as a person.” American comedian Jon Stewart penned “Bill Russell was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. Once called out of the blue because he thought I looked sad on TV…best pep talk of my life. RIP”

According to Bill’s family, the arrangements regarding the memorial service will be announced in the days to come.

We send our deepest condolences to the close friends and family members of the NBA legend during this hard time. May the departed soul rest in peace. Stay in touch with us for the latest updates from the world of showbiz.

Meenal Mehta
Hi, I am Meenal. I'm a travel enthusiast, a movie buff and a cricket fan all wrapped in one. I love to capture moments through my words. Writing is my happy space, it has been a great way of putting all my thoughts out and feel liberated.


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