Hall of Famer and NBA legend Bill Russell passed away yesterday. He was 88 years old.
Over a 15-year period, beginning with his junior year at the University of San Francisco, Russell had the most remarkable career of any player in the history of team sports. At USF, he was a two-time All-American, won two straight NCAA championships, and led the team to 55 consecutive wins. And he won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics.
During his 13 years in Boston, he carried the Celtics to the NBA Finals 12 times, winning the championship 11 times, the last two titles won while as both a player and serving as the NBA’s first Black coach.
A five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star, Russell was an uncanny shot-blocker who revolutionized NBA defensive concepts. He finished with 21,620 career rebounds — an average of 22.5 per game — and led the league in rebounding four times. He had 51 rebounds in one game, 49 in two others, and posted 12 straight seasons with 1,000 or more rebounds. Russell also averaged 15.1 points and 4.3 assists per game over his career.
Until Michael Jordan’s exploits in the 1990s, Russell was considered by many as the greatest player in NBA history.