By: Kurtis Alston

Bill Russell, a Boston Celtics Legend, peacefully passed away at 88 on July 11, 2022. He died in the Seattle area, where he resided, with his wife by his side.

In June, Russell couldn’t give Stephen Curry the Finals MVP trophy because of his long-term illness. The Finals MVP Trophy was named after Russell because of his outstanding career.

Russell helped start the Boston Celtics dynasty by winning nine NBA titles as a player. He also won two more championships as the head coach and was the first African American coach to do so. During  Russell’s 13-year career with the Celtics, he reached the NBA finals 12 times, which is an incredible feat.

Bill wasn’t only a winner in the NBA but in college and the Olympics, also. At the University of San Francisco, he was a two-time All-American, won two straight NCAA Championships, and led his team to 55 consecutive wins. He also captured gold at the 1956 Olympics.

Before people considered Michael Jordan the greatest basketball player of all time,l held that title for many years.l finished his hall of fame career with 21,620 rebounds averaging 22.5 per game. He was a five-time MVP, 12-time all-star, and an excellent shot blocker, making it difficult for offenses. Russell rebounded the ball 51 times in one game and had two games with 49. In 12 straight seasons, grabbed 1,000 or more rebounds. During his tenure as a player in the NBA, he averaged 15.1 points per game.

The world lost a person who won on and off the court, successful in everything he did—being a role model for basketball players and all human beings.  In 2011, President Obama awarded Russell the Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. The NBA awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Today, we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher—both as a player and a person.” Obama said in a statement Sunday. In December of 2021, Bill helped raise $5.1 million for charity with historic memorabilia auction. Also, each year the summit bank awards a four-year Bill Russell Scholarship to a McClymonds High School student.

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