Bill Russell Celebrity LifeBorn on the 12th of February 1934, Bill Russell is a leading legend in being the best defense and center rebound in the basketball world. Bill Russell was a member of the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) between the years 1956 to 1969.
Throughout his career with the NBA, he has been awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player five times and the award of all-star twelve times. During his 13-year long career in the field of basketball, he was the leading centerpiece of the Boston Celtics when they won eleven NBA Championships.
Bill Russell has had a long and hard-earned career with basketball. During his college years, racism was still prevalent in America due to which Russell was mostly ignored by college recruiters. This continued till Hal DeJulio recruited Bill Russell for the University of San Francisco.
Before Russell was recruited for his big debut in the NBA, he became captain of the U.S. national basketball team that competed in the Summer Olympics of 1956. This Olympics was held in Melbourne, Australia. In this Olympics, Russell took part in the high jump event and bagged gold for his country under the guidance of coach Gerald Tucker.
Winning gold at the Olympics further helped Russell in skyrocketing his career into professional basketball in the following years.
After his long career with the Boston Celtics, Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey was retired on the 12th of March, 1972. This No. 6 jersey has been synonymous to Russell as it was the same jersey that he wore at the University of San Francisco, for the 1956 Summer Olympics at Melbourne and throughout his NBA career with the Boston Celtics.
In the later years of his career, Bill Russell had a difficult relationship with the press and media that barred him from attending important events and ceremonies. In the year 1975, he was included in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a prestigious award and ceremony, that he did not attend.
He ran into a ton of financial problems when this plantation and restaurant became bankrupt after he retired from his career as a basketball player. Also, Russell’s house was put on lien as he owed the IRS $34,430 worth of tax money.
Bill Russell also took up golf as a sport and became a color commentator for CBS and TBS. He also hosted and featured in several editions of Saturday Night Live for sports-related sketches. Russell also played the role of Judge Roger Ferguson in the Miami Vice episode “The Fix”. Throughout his post-career life, Russell collaborated with professional writers to publish books like Second Wind in 1979.
Due to his contribution to the sport of Basketball and the way that the changed the game as a part of the Boston Celtics, it was only obvious for Bill Russell to become the first African-American to be elected for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.
However, at the time of the ceremony, he did not accept the award for personal reasons. Four decades later, in 2019 Bill Russell accepted the Hall of Fame Ring. He stated that his refusal for the award four decades ago was due to the racism that was linked to basketball and all sports and wished for others like him, who came before him and were deserving to also receive the award.
Acknowledgment of a Much-Deserved Award
Bill Russell not accepting the Hall of Fame award was to show support for Chuck Cooper who was the first African-American basketball player to be drafted for the National Basketball Association in the year 1950. Chuck Cooper too was given an award and included in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame just recently.
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