Bill Russell was an American professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969.
The Celtics decided to honor Russell by retiring his No. 6 jersey in 1972. In 1970, he was selected for the NBA’s 25th anniversary all-time squad; in 1980, he was selected for the NBA’s 35th-anniversary team; and in 2015, he was selected for the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team.
In 1996, he was heralded as one of the 50 greatest players in the history of the NBA. In 2009, the Most Valuable Player trophy that is awarded at the NBA finals was renamed after him.
About the plaza of Boston’s City Hall, a statue of Russell was unveiled in 2013, and it is flanked by pieces of granite that have quotes on leadership and character engraved on them.
In 1975, Bill Russell was the first African American player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; however, he chose not to attend the ceremony because he felt he should not have been given that honor. (His pick was Chuck Cooper, who was the first Black player in the National Basketball Association.)
How Many NBA Championships Did Bill Russell Win?
Bill Russell won 11 titles during his career, which is tied for the most by any athlete in the history of the four major professional sports played in North America.
In 2011, former President Barack Obama bestowed upon Russell the Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed on a citizen. In addition, the NBA presented him with its Lifetime Achievement Award that same year (2017).