NBA legend Bill Russell passed away on Sunday, 31 July 2022.
Russell’s family confirmed the tragic news on Sunday evening through a statement released on the late NBA player’s Twitter account.
Bill Russell died: What was the cause of death?
Bill Russell died at the age of 88, with his wife, Jeannine Russell, by his side. The cause of death has not been confirmed yet. According toYahoo News, in June Russel was unable to present the NBA Finals MVP trophy due to a long-term illness.
The late-NBA player is survived by his wife Jeannine Russell and his children, Karen and Jacob Russell. His oldest son William Felton Russell Jr unfortunatly passed away in 2016.
Arrangements for Russell’s memorial service will be announced soon, according to the family’s statement.
Bill Russell biography
Bill Russell was born in 1934, in West Monroe, Louisiana.
Russell was a cornerstone of success for the Boston Celtics. He began playing for the Boston-based basketball dynasty in 1956 and retired from playing professionally in 1969. The basketball legend won the NBA Championship 11 times before his retirement – a record that remains untouched – and was named the league’s most valuable player five times.
Off the court, the 11-time NBA champion was a supporter of civil rights and social justice. Russell often spoke out against the racism that he and other black basketball players endured. Russell marched for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King Jr and supported boxer Muhammed Ali when he refused military induction. Honouring the former NBA champion’s contributions to civil rights, former US President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.
The late NBA player head coached the Celtics during his final three years as a professional player and lead the team to two championship titles as the NBA’s first black coach. Russell then proceeded to coach the Seattle SuperSonics from 1973 to 1977 and the Sacramento Kings from 1987–1988.
Following Russell’s record-breaking basketball triumph, In 1975, he became the first black NBA player to be introduced to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Reactions to the death of Bill Russell
As the world mourns another icon this year, the news of Bill Russell’s death sparked online tributes to the former NBA Legend and his legacy.
Former US president Barack Obama released a statement on Twitter saying:
“Today, we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher – both as a player and as a person.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver referred to Russell as “the greatest champion in all of team sports”, in his statement honouring the former NBA player’s life.
The Boston Celtics also paid tribute to their former player as “the greatest champion” who revolutionized their team.
Following the outpouring tributes to the late NBA player, Laker’s Magic Johnson stated that he admired and loved Russell for his efforts in the fight for social justice.
Michael Jordan also honoured the late NBA player, stating that Russell was a heroic figure for black basketball players who joined the NBA league after him.