Bill Russell

American basketball player and coach (1934–2022)

William Felton Russell (February 12, 1934 – July 31, 2022) was an American basketball player. Russell played for the Boston Celtics in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969. He was born in Monroe, Louisiana. He was a civil rights activist.

Bill Russell in 2011

Russell was also an NBA coach. He coached the Celtics from 1966 to 1969, Seattle SuperSonics from 1973 to 1977 and the Sacramento Kings from 1987 to 1988.

Russell won two NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956. He ended his college career with the University of San Francisco by winning his last 55 straight games and achieving an undefeated season in 1956.[1] Before entering the NBA, Russell also earned an Olympic gold medal in 1956.[2] The US team, led by Russell, was undefeated and won by an unsurpassed victory margin of 53.5 points per game[3]

Russell was named the NBA MVP five times during his career. He won 11 championships in 13 seasons as a player, the most in NBA history, including eight in a row from 1959 through 1966.[4] During his NBA career, he made it to the championship round during 12 of his 13 seasons.

President Barack Obama honored Russell with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House in 2011.[5] He was honored into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame twice, one in 1975 for his playing career and another in 2021 for his coaching career.[6]

Russell died on July 31, 2022 at his home in Mercer Island, Washington at the age of 88.[7][8]


  1. Schneider, Bernie (2006). "1953–56 NCAA Championship Seasons: The Bill Russell Years". University of San Francisco. Archived from the original on November 28, 2006. Retrieved December 1, 2006.
  2. "Bill Russell". Turner Sports Interactive. Archived from the original on November 12, 2006. Retrieved December 1, 2006 – via
  3. Sean, Deveney (2014-09-05). "Team USA steamrolls to gold, in another victory for Deveney". Sporting News.
  4. Goldman, Tom (July 31, 2022). "Bill Russell, Basketball Great With Record 11 NBA Titles, Dies At 88". NPR. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  5. "Bill Russell Receives Arthur Ashe Courage Award At ESPYS". CBS Boston. July 11, 2019. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  6. Helin, Kurt (September 12, 2021). "Watch Bill Russell be inducted into Hall of Fame as a coach". NBC Sports. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  7. Wright, Michael C. "Celtics legend, 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell dies at 88". Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  8. Kupper, Eisenhamme. "Bill Russell, legendary Celtics center and NBA coach, dead at 88". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 31, 2022.