Bill Russell

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Monroe, Louisiana
Birth Sign
Monroe, Louisiana

William Felton “Bill” Russell is a retired professional basketball player who was the centerpiece of the Boston Celtics dynasty for a period of 13 years. He is widely regarded as one of the best players in NBA history. He was well-known for his shot-blocking and man-to-man defense, which helped his team win numerous championships. The gifted athlete grew up in a neighborhood known for its racial tensions. Basketball provided him with a means of overcoming this problem, and he was given the opportunity to prove himself as a professional player. He was also well-liked for his ability to inspire and motivate his teammates to improve their playing skills and put forth their best efforts. He is one of only two players in NBA history to have made more than 50 rebounds in a single game and has a dozen seasons with 1,000 or more rebounds. Russell’s superstardom is noteworthy not only for his outstanding performances, but also for the fact that he was the first African American player in NBA history to achieve such acclaim, as well as the first African American to serve as an NBA coach.

Childhood and Adolescence

Charles and Katie Russell were his parents. He grew up in a racially divided neighborhood, where his family was frequently subjected to racist acts.

He grew up in poverty and had a difficult childhood. When he was only 12 years old, he lost his mother. He attended McClymonds High School and began playing basketball there. George Powles, the youngster’s coach, encouraged him to improve his skills and become a better player.

The University of San Francisco offered him a scholarship (USF). He was overjoyed to receive this scholarship because it allowed him to break free from a life of poverty and racism.

Coach Phil Woolpert, who helped him develop his unique defensive technique, helped him thrive at USF. He became the focal point of a USF basketball team that grew into a formidable college basketball force.

Career of Bill

Because of his defensive toughness and rebounding ability, he was selected by the Boston Celtics in the NBA Draft in 1956. However, he was named captain of the United States national basketball team before his rookie season, which competed in the 1956 Summer Olympics. He was instrumental in the team’s gold medal victory.

In December of 1956, he joined the Celtics for the 1956-57 season. He appeared in 48 games, averaging 14.7 points and 19.6 rebounds per game. The Celtics were already a high-scoring team, but Russell’s addition bolstered their capabilities.

He had 16 points, 31 rebounds, and seven blocks in his first NBA playoff game against the Syracuse Nationals in 1957. The Celtics won 108-89, completing a three-game sweep of the Nationals.

The Celtics won 14 consecutive games to start the 1957-58 season. That season, he was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. His team won 49 games and easily qualified for the NBA Playoffs in 1958.

In the 1958-59 season, he averaged 16.7 points per game and 23.0 rebounds per game, continuing his incredible run. The Celtics set a league record by winning 52 games.

In November 1959, the Celtics faced the Philadelphia Warriors. The game was primarily viewed as a showdown between Russell and Warriors center Wilt Chamberlain, who were both outstanding centers. The Celtics won by a score of 115-106.

Russell led his team to a 57-22 record in 1960-61 by averaging 16.9 points and 23.9 rebounds per game. The Celtics became the first team to win 60 games in a season the following season, and he was named NBA Most Valuable Player for the second time.

During the 1963-64 season, he averaged 15.0 points and 24.7 rebounds per game. He continued his stellar play in the 1964-65 season, when he helped the Celtics set a league record by winning a league-high 62 games.

Red Auerbach, the Celtics’ coach, stepped down before the 1966-67 season. Russell was offered and accepted the position of player-coach, making him the first African American NBA coach.

He was getting older and tired, and his numbers were starting to dwindle by the 1967-68 season. Despite this, he averaged 12.5 points and 18.6 rebounds per game. At the age of 35, he retired from the game.

Achievements & Awards

He is one of the most successful players in American basketball history. In 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, he won 11 NBA championships. He is only the second player in NBA history to grab 51 rebounds in a single game, and the first to average more than 20 rebounds per game over the course of a season.

He was named to three all-NBA First Teams and won five regular-season MVP awards. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement both on and off the court.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1956, he married Rose Swisher, his college sweetheart. They divorced in 1973 after having three children. In 1977, he married Dorothy Anstett, a white woman who was a former Miss USA. Their marriage lasted only a few years, as they divorced in 1980.

Marilyn Nault was his third wife, and they were married until she died in 2009. In 2009, the NBA Finals MVP Award was renamed the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award.

Estimated Net Worth

Russell is a former basketball player from the United States with a net worth of $10 million. Russell is regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was the first African-American athlete to be recognized as a superstar. From 1956 to 1969, Bill Russell was a member of the Boston Celtics, winning 11 NBA championships.

He was the first black player to achieve superstar status in the NBA, as a five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star. Russell also captained the United States’ gold-medal winning basketball team at the 1956 Summer Olympics.


The Professional Basketball Writers Association of America named this basketball legend the “Greatest Player in NBA History” in 1980.