Bill Russell

Celtic Legend

Game Changer

William Felton Russell was born in Monroe, Louisiana, in 1934. He was introduced to the game of basketball at a young age, but he was awkward on the court. What he brought to the table was his uncommon defensive skills. He perfected jumping to block shots, helping him dominate on the court. He had been given a scholarship to the University of San Francisco, where he took his team to win two consecutive championships. Russell entered the NBA in 1956 and during his career, he lead the Boston Celtics to win the NBA championship 11 times out of his 13 playing seasons.

"Defense is a science, not a helter-skelter thing you just luck into. Every move has six or seven years of work behind it." -Bill Russell

Impact on Racism

Being born in the segregated South, where lynching was commonly practiced, Russell learned of segregation at a young age. With Russell's parents not wanting to raise their son in a segregated environment, the Russell family moved to Oakland, CA. As an adult, he gave a different meaning for a black athlete. Russell opposed racism violence and was very inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. He also vocally defended fellow black athlete Muhammad Ali during the Vietnam War drafting. He became the first African American to coach any pro sports team in 1967, during the time he was on the Celtic's starting roster.
Bill Russell: Racism in Louisiana

Celtic Forever

In his career, Russell earned 5 MVPs, played 12 All-star games, and led the NBA in rebounds five times. He averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds a game, totaling 21, 620 career rebounds. After his retirement from Boston, he went to coach the Seattle Super Sonics and Sacramento Kings, but he wasn't as successful at coaching then when he coached for Boston. He also tried becoming an NBA Analysis, but he didn't last long in the business. Russel was inducted into both the NBA Hall of Fame and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Bill Russell is now seventy-nine years old and will be acknowledged for his impact on the world forever.

Work Cited

Hughes, Ellen R. "Bill Russell Basketball Strategist and First African American NBA Coach." Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers | Bill Russell | Smithsonian's National Museum of American History |. Smithsonian Institution, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.


Merlino, Doug. "Bill Russell, Civil Rights Hero and Inventor of Airborne Basketball." Bleacher Report. N.p., 29 Apr. 2011. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.


Reynolds, Catherine B. "Bill Russell Biography." -- Academy of Achievement. N.p., 23 Feb. 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.