In the last year, we have been reminded that perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time has died. Bill Russell was a civil rights trailblazer, a world-beater on the court, an Olympic gold medalist, and a champion of champions. We are rejoicing at his passing. Read on to learn more about the man and what we learned from him.
Bill Russell was a civil rights trailblazer
Perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, Bill Russell was an icon in his own right. But in addition to being a great player, he was also a civil rights trailblazer and a civil rights activist. In 1963, Bill Russell joined Dr. Martin Luther King at the historic speech of ‘I Have a Dream.’ Russell was also a strong supporter of Muhammad Ali, who was facing intense backlash for refusing to go to Vietnam. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded Bill Russell the Medal of Freedom. Bill Russell’s commitment to civil rights activism was noted by President Barack Obama, who recalled that “Billy Rusty stood up for what was right and did not back down from the fight for equality.”
He was a world-beater on the court
Despite his late start in the game, Bill Russell was a phenomenon, winning college basketball awards and two national titles. He went on to win 11 NBA titles and five MVP awards, and is widely regarded as the best defensive player in NBA history. The five-foot-one kid from Oakland, California, thought his future was in the shipyards. During his career, he changed the way the NBA defended.
He was an Olympic gold medalist
Basketball legend Bill Russell died Sunday at the age of 88. Russell, who was born in 1925, is arguably the greatest player to play the game, winning 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons. In addition to winning the NBA MVP in 1980, he also won two college titles and an Olympic gold medal. His contributions to basketball and society were immense and were hailed by a wide range of people, including Presidents Obama and Martin Luther King Jr.
He was a champion of champions
It is with great sadness that Bill Russell, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, has passed away at age 88. Born in Monroe, Louisiana, Russell grew up on the West Coast, where he attended Oakland High School and the University of San Francisco. While at school, Russell was a star player, helping lead his school to two NCAA championships and a gold medal in 1956 at the Olympics in Melbourne. Despite his early struggles, he went on to win numerous NBA titles and five MVPs, and he was still only a high school kid.
He was an activist
Bill Russell, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, has died at age 88. A native of Monroe, Louisiana, Bill Russell had an incredible basketball career. He played with future Hall of Fame baseball player Frank Robinson and Boston Celtics teammate K.C. Jones. He won NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956 for the University of San Francisco. Later, he led Team USA to Olympic gold in the 1956 Melbourne Games.