NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell dies

There is sad news out of the world of the National Basketball Association to pass along this afternoon. One of the most legendary figures not only in the history of the NBA but in the sports world as a whole in Bill Russell has passed away at the age of 88. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and then later confirmed by multiple sources.

The statement from Russell’s family reads:

“It is with a very heavy heart we would like to pass along to all of Bill’s friends, fans & followers: Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at the age of 88, with his wife Jeannine, by his side. Arrangements for his memorial service will be announced soon.

Bill’s two state championships in high school offered a glimmer of the incomparable run of pure team accomplishment to come: twice an NCAA champion, captain of a gold-medal winning US Olympic team, 11 times an NBA champion, and at the helm for two NBA championships as the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team.

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Along the way, Bill earned a string of individual awards that stands unprecedented as it went unmentioned by him. In 2009, the award for the NBA Finals most valuable player was renamed after two-time Hall of Famer as the “Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award”.

Russell, who was born in Louisiana in 1934, would go on to star with the Boston Celtics, with whom he won an astounding 11 NBA titles. He helped as much as anyone to revolutionize the concept of man to man defense as well as shot blocking.

Russell was also a prolific rebounder, leading the NBA in rebounds four times and posting 12 straight years of over 1,000 rebounds. He’s also one of two NBA players in history along with Wilt Chamberlain to have grabbed 50 boards in a single contest.

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