Bill Russell was a professional basketball player and coach in the National Basketball Association. He mostly played as a center for the Boston Celtics. As a coach, he coached for the Celtics, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Sacramento Kings. Russell played under Jersey Number 6. Following his death in 2022, the NBA retired the number across the league. He was an 11-time NBA Champion and he was named the NBA Most Valuable Player. As a coach, he also led the Celtics to two championships.
Player Profile and Personal Life
William Felton Russell was born on February 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana in the United States of America. He stood 208 cm tall and his weight was last listed at 98 kg. He is a shot with his left hand and he played center. When Russell was eight, his father moved the family to California, away from the heavy racial segregation and discrimination of Louisiana at the time. His mother died suddenly when he was 12.
He later married his college sweetheart Rose Swisher. They divorced in 1973. 1977, he married Dorothy Anstett, they divorced in 1980 and he married again in 1996 to Marty Nault. After Nault died, he married Jeannine Russell. He was still married to Jeannine until his death on July 31, 2022.
He died in his home on Mercer Island in Washington. His death was announced by his family on Twitter.
High School and College Career
He attended Herbert Hoover Junior High School but was cut from the team as he struggled with the game early on. He was nearly cut from the team at McClymonds High School but he was coached by George Powles. Russell later became known for his unusual style of play.
He later attended the University of San Francisco. He did not receive a lot of offers because he was not such a great player early in his career. He worked under Coach Phil Woolpert. He later made good use of his stature and his impressive shot-blocking skills. While in college, he was named to the First Team All-WCC three times. He was also the 1956 WCC Player of the Year. In the same year, he was also named the UPI College Player of the Year.
Russell declared for the NBA in 1956 and joined the NBA Draft that year. He was chosen by the Boston Celtics and Coach Red Auerbach. In addition to joining the NBA that year, he also played for the United States in the 1956 Summer Olympics. Due to his commitment to the Olympics team, Russell was not able to play for the Celtics until later in the 1956-1957 season.
That season saw a starting lineup that featured not only Russell but other future Hall of Famers such as Frank Ramsey, Bill Sharman, and Bob Cousy. They would later be joined by KC Jones. He won his first Championship with the Celtics in 1957. In 1958, he was named the Most Valuable Player in the NBA. In the same year, he was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career.
Throughout his professional career, Russell would win the NBA Championship 11 times. He would also be named the MVP 5 times and named to the All-Star Team a dozen times in total. In 1963, he was named the NBA All-Star MVP. He was named the NBA Rebounding Champion four times.
He retired from professional basketball in 1969 but prior to that, he had already started coaching for his team and had helped them through two Championships. From 1973 to 1977, he coached the Seattle Supersonics, and from 1987 to 1988, he coached the Sacramento Kings.
In 2017, Russell was given the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also been named to the 25th 35th, 50th, and 75th NBA Anniversary Teams. The Celtics retired Jersey No.6 and in 2022, the NBA retired the number across all teams.
- 1957, 1959–1966, 1968, 1969 - NBAChampion
- 1958, 1961–1963, 1965 - NBA MostValuable Player
- 1958–1969 - NBA All-Star
- 1963 - NBA All-Star Game MVP
- 1959, 1963, 1965 - All-NBA FirstTeam
- 1958, 1960–1962, 1964, 1966–1968 -All-NBA Second Team
- 1969 - NBA All-Defensive First Team
- 1958, 1959, 1964, 1965 - NBArebounding champion
- 2017 - NBA Lifetime AchievementAward
- 25th, 35th, 50th, 75th - NBAAnniversary Team
- No. 6 retired by Boston Celtics
- No. 6 retired by all NBA teams
- 1955, 1956 - NCAA Champion
- 1955 - NCAA Tournament MostOutstanding Player
- 1956 - UPI College Player of theYear
- 1955, 1956 - Helms Player of theYear
- 1955, 1956 - Consensus first-teamAll-American
- 1956 - WCC Player of the Year
- 1954–1956 - First-team All-WCC
- No. 6 retired by San Francisco Dons
- 2011 - Presidential Medal of Freedom
- 1968, 1969 - NBA champion
- Gold – 1956 Melbourne Olympics –Men’s Basketball; United States ofAmerica
- 1966–1969 - Boston Celtics
- 1973–1977 - Seattle SuperSonics
- 1987–1988 - Sacramento Kings