Bill Russell: NBA legend dies (*88*) 88

“It is with a really heavy coronary heart that we wish to go alongside to all of Bill’s buddies, followers, & followers,” the assertion reads. “Bill Russell, essentially the most prolific winner in American sports activities historical past, handed away peacefully in the present day (*88*) the age of 88, along with his spouse, Jeannine, by his aspect. Arrangements for his memorial service can be introduced quickly.

“Bill’s two state championships in highschool provided a glimmer of the incomparable run of pure crew accomplishment to come back: twice an NCAA champion; captain of a gold-medal-winning US Olympic crew; 11 instances an NBA champion; and (*88*) the helm for 2 NBA championships as the primary black head coach of any North American skilled sports activities crew.

“Along the way in which, Bill earned a string of particular person awards that stands unprecedented because it went unmentioned by him. In 2009, the award for the NBA Finals most respected participant was renamed after two-time Hall of Famer because the ‘Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.’

“Bill’s spouse, Jeannine, and his many family and friends thanks for protecting Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you will relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark snort as he delighted in explaining the true story behind how these moments unfolded. And we hope every of us can discover a new solution to act or communicate up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and all the time constructive dedication to precept. That could be one final, and lasting, win for our beloved #6. “

Russell received 11 championships with the Celtics, together with eight straight from 1959 to 1966. He was a five-time NBA MVP and a 12-time All-Star.

As a coach for the Celtics, he led Boston to 2 titles, turning into the primary Black head coach to win an NBA championship.

The Celtics issued a press release praising Russell and his contribution to each the crew and the game as a complete.

“To be the best champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way in which the sport is performed, and to be a societal chief all (*88*) as soon as appears unthinkable, however that’s who Bill Russell was,” the assertion learn.

“Bill Russell’s DNA is woven by means of each ingredient of the Celtics group, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of crew rewards over particular person glory, to a dedication to social justice and civil rights off the courtroom. Our ideas are along with his household as we mourn his passing and have fun his monumental legacy in basketball, Boston, and past.”

Fellow NBA legend Michael Jordan — extensively thought of to be the best basketball participant of all time — stated, “Bill Russell was a pioneer — as a participant, as a champion, because the NBA’s first Black head coach and as an activist. He paved the way in which and set an instance for each Black participant who got here into the league after him, together with me. The world has misplaced a legend. My condolences to his household and should he relaxation in peace.”

Former US President Barack Obama took to social media to reward Russell’s contribution to basketball and society: “Today, we misplaced an enormous. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far larger — each as a participant and as an individual. Perhaps greater than anybody else, Bill knew what it took to win and what it took to guide. On the courtroom, he was the best champion in basketball historical past. Off of it, he was a civil rights trailblazer — marching with Dr. King and standing with Muhammad Ali.

“For a long time, Bill endured insults and vandalism, however by no means let it cease him from talking up for what’s proper. I realized a lot from the way in which he performed, the way in which he coached, and the way in which he lived his life. Michelle and I ship our like to Bill’s household, and everybody who admired him.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver additionally shared his condolences.

“Bill Russell was the best champion in all of crew sports activities,” Silver stated in a press release. “The numerous accolades that he earned for his storied profession with the Boston Celtics — together with a file 11 championships and 5 MVP awards — solely start to inform the story of Bill’s immense affect on our league and broader society.

“Bill stood for one thing a lot larger than sports activities: the values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league. At the peak of his athletic profession, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he handed on all the way down to generations of NBA gamers who adopted in his footsteps. Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above all of it and remained true to his perception that everybody deserves to be handled with dignity.”

CNN’s Homero de la Fuente contributed to this report.

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