Bill Russell Biography and Career Highlights, Boston Celtics Center Hall of Fame Legend

Long before NBA basketball was known for it’s face paced up and down the floor action, Bill Russell was the man revolutionized the sport to what we all see today. Bill Russell was such a dominating force in the NBA a whole new generation of players were drafted with hopes that they could find a big man who could do it all! Bill Russell led the Celtics to 11 NBA Champions, was nicknamed “Mr. Defense”, and was the centerpiece to one of the greatest dynasties ever to play in professional sports.

If there ever was a basketball player who deserved to be called an “impact player,” it was Bill Russell. He left his mark in basketball everywhere he ever played. When he went to the the University of San Francisco in 1952, the school didn’t even have a gym. Four years later, San Francisco University had two National Championships, a 55 game winning streak, and a brand new gymnasium. Russell led San Francisco to the first undefeated season in NCAA history.

Just as soon as Bill Russell graduated college he left his mark on the USA Olympic basketball team. USA steamrolled their way to win the gold medal in Australia. As a rookie with the Boston Celtics he led the team to its first ever World Championship.

From 1959 to 1966, Russell’s impact on the game was at an all time high. He was the man who grabbed the rebounds, blocked most the shots, and keyed the Boston Celtics fast break. When Celtics head coach Red Auerbach retired, his chosen successor was Bill Russell himself! By becoming the first African American head coach in professional sports, his impact was felt immediately. The 34 year old player-coach led his team through the playoffs for two of the most memorable Championship runs in basketball history. Russell and his over the hill players drove past younger teams that were just starting to master the brand of basketball that he introduced to basketball more than a dozen years earlier. By the time that Bill Russell left the game, “Mr. Defense,” had certainly left his mark.

Bill Russell Timeline Biography

  • Age 6 – Goes to school in a one room shack
  • Age 12 – Mother passes away
  • Age 21 – Leads San Francisco to win NCAA Championship
  • Age 22 – Drafted by the Boston Celtics
  • 1956 – Helps USA win Gold Medal
  • 1957 – Leads Celtics to fist NCAA Championship
  • 1966 – Becomes first African American coach in professional sports
  • 1969 – Retires with 12 NBA Championships

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