Updated: Aug 5
He was the NBA's Basketball's first Black superstar in a city widely viewed as one of the more racist in the northern states. He could do it all; a dominant rebounder beyond imagination, a prolific scoere at will and he was armed with an arsenal of shots that other duplicated (like the sky hook). He was also a lazer sharp passer and a one-of-a kind innovative defender. He was the NBA's first black head coach (while he played) and was the cornerstone of the greatest dynasty in basketball history unmatched to this day.
PART 1 A TOWERING FORCE
AND MASTER ON THE COURT
The picture below literally says it all when it comes to Russell's complete dominance of the NBA as he created his own era and helped elevate the Celtics to iconic status. His head nearly touches the rim, which means he can touch the top of the backboard. Unheard of then and nearly impossible today.
Bill Russell's legacy blends basketball dominance, activism and laughs. Russell, who died recently at 88, was as much of an icon off the court as he was on it. Russell's basketball achievements are well known: five MVP awards, 12 All-Star selections, a 55-game college winning streak, two NCAA championships and 11 NBA titles. Woah!!
Let's zero in on the incredible marks he made. Russell was the ultimate winner. He led the University of San Francisco to N.C.A.A. tournament championships in 1955 and 1956.
He won a gold medal with the United States Olympic basketball team in 1956. That was before he even joined the Celtics.
He led the Celtics to eight consecutive N.B.A. titles from 1959 to 1966, far eclipsing the Yankees' five straight World Series victories (1949 to 1953) and the Montreal Canadiens' five consecutive Stanley Cup championships (1956 to 1960).
In 1980, Russell was voted the greatest player in the NBA history by basketball writers. He remains the sport's most prolific winner and an archetype of selflessness who won with defense and rebounding while leaving the scoring to others; until he simply wanted to score, or the team needed him to do so.
Russell revolutionized the game with his supreme athletic ability, defensive prowess, extraordinary intelligence on and off the court, and relentless drive for winning, cementing himself as one of the greatest players in NBA history. Every team he payed on won championships.
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