The Boston Celtics cornerstone went on to captain a gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team and lead him to two NBA championships, becoming the first black head coach of any professional sports team on the continent, a statement on his Twitter account said.
Recognized as the winningest player in American sports history, Russell was a five-time MVP and a 12-time All-Star. According to the NBAHe had 21,620 career rebounds, an average of 22.5 per game, and won the league’s rebounding championship four times. The 2009 NBA Finals MVP Award was renamed after him.
Russell was also known for his actions off the court in the fight against discrimination.
“From boycotting an exhibition game in 1961 to exposing long-standing discrimination, to leading Mississippi’s first basketball camp in the wake of the Medgar Evans assassination fire, to decades of activism finally recognized by receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor intended to disrupt the status quo, and by a powerful example that, though his humble intentions will never be the same, inspires teamwork, selflessness, and thoughtful change.”
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