The Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA titles with the franchise, has died at the age of 88. News about Russell’s passing was confirmed by a statement posted on social media Sunday.
No details about the cause of Russell’s death were shared, with the statement just saying that he “passed away peacefully” with his wife Jeannine by his side. It went on to list many of his accomplishments on and off the field before thanking everyone for “keeping Bill in your prayers.”
” … we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6,” the statement concluded.
Bill Russell was the winningest player in NBA history and one of the best players to ever step on the court. But he proved his greatness even before becoming a pro. Russell was a two-time NCAA champion with USF, leading the program to 55 consecutive wins at one point. He was also a gold medalist with Team USA at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games.
After being selected second overall by the Celtics in the 1956 NBA Draft, Russell went on to lead the franchise to 11 titles in 13 years, a run that included eight consecutive championships. He also won five NBA MVP honors during that period and was named an All-Star 12 times.
Russell also served as the Celtics’ head coach towards the end of his playing career. After winning his 11th title as a player and second one as a coach, he left the franchise following the 1968-69 season and retired. He later worked on television while also having head-coaching stints with Seattle SuperSonics and Sacramento Kings.