What Happened to Bill Russell: A Basketball Legend and a Civil Rights Activist

What Happened to Bill Russell
What Happened to Bill Russell

Bill Russell was an American basketball player and coach who won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, the most by any player in the history of the league.

He was also the first black head coach in any major U.S. sport and a prominent civil rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. and supported Muhammad Ali.

He received numerous awards and honors, including an honorary Oscar, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBA.

What happened to Bill Russell?

According to a family statement made on his verified Twitter account, Bill Russell died peacefully on July 31, 2022, at the age of 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side.

The cause of his death has not been determined, but Russell had been ailing for some time and was unable to accept the NBA Finals MVP trophy in June.

Fans, coworkers, celebrities, and political figures all mourned Russell’s passing and praised his legacy as a champion, leader, and humanitarian.

Former US President Barack Obama referred to him as “the greatest champion in all of team sports” and “a civil rights trailblazer” in a social media post. Russell was described as “the values of equality, respect, and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league” by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement.

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What was Bill Russell’s illness?

Bill Russell’s family and representatives have not revealed the nature of his illness. Russell, on the other hand, had a history of health issues, particularly cardiac problems. He was hospitalized in Washington state in 2018 for dehydration, although he denied having any heart problems.

He collapsed after a speaking engagement in Nevada in 2014 but swiftly recovered and resumed his activities. He had heart bypass surgery in 2009, after which he joked that he was “too stubborn to die.

Russell’s condition did not prohibit him from participating in a variety of causes and events. He was an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and frequently aired his thoughts on social and political topics on Twitter.

He also attended several NBA games and ceremonies, as well as mentoring young players and coaches. He was widely known and admired within the basketball community and beyond for exemplifying the spirit of greatness, courage, and compassion.

A Legendary Career on and off the Court

Russell was born in Louisiana in 1934 and migrated to California when he was eight years old with his family. Growing up, he suffered bigotry and hardship, but basketball provided him with solace and achievement. He led the University of San Francisco to two NCAA titles and a gold medal with the United States national team in the 1956 Olympics.

The Boston Celtics selected him in 1956, and he later served as the foundation of the NBA’s most potent dynasty. In 13 seasons, he won 11 championships, including eight in a row from 1959 to 1966.

He was a five-time MVP, a 12-time All-Star, and a defensive and rebounding force whose shot-blocking and passing abilities transformed the game. As a player-coach, he led the Celtics to two titles in 1968 and 1969, making him the first black head coach in any major American sport.

Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, and in 1980, a panel of media members voted him the greatest player in NBA history.

In 2011, Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2013, he was honored with a statue outside the TD Garden in Boston, and in 2017, the NBA Finals MVP trophy was named after him.

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