Saying Goodbye To A Boston Sports Legend & True Gentleman
Some sad news from over the weekend concerning a New England sports legend. And believe me, I'm not using the phrase "sports legend" lightly, Berkshire County.
It is with true sadness in my heart that I report basketball legend Bill Russell died on Sunday at 88 years old. His family has not yet revealed the cause of death. As many of you Boston Celtics fans out there know, Russell was the cornerstone of the NBA dynasty that won 11 titles within a 13-year span.
Russell played as a center for the Celtics from 1956 to 1969. During that time, the Celtics won 11 NBA championships including 8 in a row from 1958 to 1966! And during his 13-year career, he was a 12-time NBA All-Star.
Russell was also a 5-time NBA Most Valuable Player and the same year that began his NBA career, Russell captained the U.S. national basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics winning the gold medal.
Though Russell was not a major point-scorer during his tenure he truly was a defensive BEAST and the main reason that the Boston Celtics were so dominant during his time with them.
Truly a groundbreaker, during his last three years with the Celtics, Russell served as player-coach, making him(at the time) the first black coach in pro sports in North America and the first to win a championship.
Acting as player-coach served Russell well later on after his Celtics tenure ended. Russell went on to coach the Seattle Supersonics in the 1970s and the Sacramento Kings in the late 1980s.
Despite all of his awards and accolades in the world of basketball, perhaps Russell's biggest moment of glory came in 2011 when President Obama bestowed on Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for not just his work on the court but also his accomplishments in the civil rights movement.
Bill Russell...NBA player...NBA coach...humanitarian...civil rights activist...legend...gentleman. Gone but NEVER forgotten.