Bill Russell is thought to be one of the best basketball players and athletes in general. He was the first player of African-American descent to become a superstar. Bill Russell played for the Boston Celtics in the NBA from 1956 to 1969. During that time, they won 11 NBA titles. He was the first black player to become a superstar in the NBA.
He won MVP five times and was an All-Star 12 times. Russell was also the captain of the US basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Russell had a lot of success, but racism was always a problem for him. Russell was made a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Hall of Fame for his great work in the NBA.
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Bill Russell Early Life
Bill Russell was born to Katie and Charles in Monroe, Louisiana, in 1934. When Russell was eight, his family moved to Oakland, California, where they lived in a series of public housing projects. Not long after, his mother died. Russell went to McClymonds High School when he was a teen. As a basketball player, he won state titles his junior and senior years in a row.
Russell didn’t get much attention from college recruiters, but the University of San Francisco did make him an offer, and he got a scholarship to go there. At USF, he became the leader of a team that became one of the best in college basketball.
In 1955 and 1956, they won the NCAA championship. Russell didn’t just play basketball for USF. He also ran track and field for the school. He was especially good at the high jump. In 1956, he was ranked as the seventh best high jumper in the world.
Bill Russell 1956 Olympics
Russell was the leader of the US basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. This was before he joined the NBA. He helped the team win the gold medal by beating the Soviet Union 89-55 in the final game. The team’s head coach was Gerald Tucker. Overall, the team won by an average of 53.5 points per game, which made them the best team in the tournament.
Boston Celtics Win Championship
Russell’s first game with the Boston Celtics was against the St. Louis Hawks in December 1956. The Celtics finished the season with a 44-28 record, which is their second-best record since they started playing in 1946-47. This was mostly because of his strong defense. After that, Russell had 16 points and 31 rebounds in Game 1 of the Eastern Division Finals, which helped the Celtics sweep the Syracuse Nationals and make it to the NBA Finals for the first time, which they won.
The next season, the Celtics had even more success when they won 14 games in a row. Russell scored an average of 16.6 points per game and grabbed an average of 22.7 rebounds per game, which was a league record. During the 1958–1959 season, the Celtics won 52 games, which was a league record. The team then won the NBA title again.
In 1960, when they won 59 games during the regular season, the Celtics broke their own record. The team won its third championship in four years at the Finals that year. This was the start of a legendary run for the Celtics, who went on to win seven more straight NBA titles, a streak that has never been done before in any US professional sports league. During this time, Russell became known for his amazing ability to block shots, defend one-on-one, and grab rebounds.
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Coaching And Final Years Of Playing
When Red Auerbach left the Celtics before the 1966–1967 season, Bill Russell was named the new head coach. He was the first black head coach in NBA history. The next season, the Celtics were beaten badly by the Philadelphia 76ers and Wilt Chamberlain, which was Russell’s first real loss in the NBA.
Russell got back on track as a player and won during his next-to-last season. In the Eastern Division Finals, the Celtics were down 3-1 when they played the 76ers for the second time. But the team came back and won the next three games in amazing fashion after being down. Then, in the NBA Finals, the Celtics beat the Lakers, giving Russell his tenth championship title.
Bill Russell’s Net Worth
At the time of his death, Bill Russell, an American basketball legend, was worth $10 million. Bill Russell passed away on July 31, 2022, when he was 88 years old.
Bill Russell Personal Life
Russell married Rose Swisher, his college sweetheart, in 1956. Karen, William Jr., and Jacob were their three children. In 1973, they got a divorce.
In 1977, Bill Russell married Dorothy Anstett, who had been Miss USA. In 1980, they split up. Russell married Marilyn Nault in 1996, and they were together until she died in 2009.