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Bill Russell dies at age 88

The basketball world lost a legend

Bill Russell Portrait Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA legend Bill Russell passed away peacefully yesterday at the age of 88.

Russell was the anchor in the Boston Celtics dynasty that won eleven championships in thirteen years (of which Bill served as player/coach in the final two championship runs), the hall of fame big man was vocal regarding equal rights.

Russell was the league’s first black coach. he also hosted Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in the wake of Medgar Evers’ assassination. Recognition of his decades of activism earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In addition to Russell’s accomplishments with the Boston Celtics, he was also a two-time All-American and won two straight NCAA championships during his college days. In 1956, he won a gold medal at the Olympics.

In 2009, the MVP trophy of the NBA Finals was named in Russell’s honor. He handed it to Kawhi Leonard in 2019, it was the last time he was well enough to present the award.

Acknowledgement from around the league was instantaneous.

“Bill Russell was a pioneer — as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first Black head coach and as an activist. He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend.” -Michael Jordan

But in the end, it is Bill sho should have the last words on his legacy:

Thank you Bill, for shaping the game of basketball which we all love.

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