Basketball legend Bill Russell with record 11 NBA titles dies at 88

Date: 2022-08-01
Bill Russell, Boston Celtics 11 N.B.A. Championship, whose defensive athleticism at center changed the face 
of pro basketball and the final two when he became the first black head coach in a major American sports
 league, died Sunday. He was 88.

They did not say where he died, his family announced his death. When Russell was elected to the Basketball
 Hall of Fame in 1975, RedAuerbach, who orchestrated his arrival as a Celtic and coached him to nine 
championship teams called him "the single most destructive force in the game's history."

He wasn't alone in this view: In a 1980 poll of basketball writers (long before Michael Jordan 
and LeBron James entered the scene), Russell was voted no less than the greatest player in the N.B.A. history

Russell's quickness and uncanny ability to block shots have transformed the center position, once a place for 
slow and hulking types. His superb rebounding triggered a Celtic fast break that overwhelmed the rest of the

 Russell knew he was different from other players — that he was an innovator and that his identity depended 
on dominating the game," Bradley wrote in "Red and Me: My Coach, My," reviewing Auerbach's memoir of
 Russell for The New York Times. Friends for Life” (2009).

Former Senator Bill Bradley saw him as "the smartest player ever to play the game and the epitome
 of a team leader". who faced the Knicks with Russell in the 1960s,
In the decades following Russell's retirement in 1969, when flashy moves delighted fans and team play was often
 an afterthought, his stature burned deeper, remembered for his ability to elevate the talents of his teammates 
even as he dominated the action, and to do so without bravado. : He disdained dunking or gestures to celebrate
 his achievements.

In later years, his signature goatee now white, Russell reappeared on the court in the spring, presenting 
the N.B.A.'s Most Valuable Player. Championship Series in 2009 with the trophy to his name.

Russell was also remembered for his visibility on civil rights issues.

He attended the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and sat in the front row of the crowd to 
hear the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech. After the murder of civil rights 
activist Medgar Evers, he moved to Mississippi and worked with Evers' brother Charles to open an integrated 
basketball camp in Jackson. He was among the prominent black athletes who supported Muhammad Ali 
when Ali refused to be drafted into the armed forces during the Vietnam War.

President Barack Obama presented Russell with the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal 
of Freedom, at the White House in 2011, honoring him as "someone who stood up for the rights and dignity 
of all men."

In September 2017, President Donald J. After Trump's call for the N.F.L. to fire owners who kneel during the
 national anthem to protest racial injustice, Russell posted a photo on Twitter of himself kneeling while 
holding a medal.

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