Bill Russell, a Celebrated USF Alum, Civil Rights Figure and 11-Time NBA Champion, Dies at 88
Bill Russell, an 11-time NBA champion who spent the majority of his childhood living in the Bay Area and won two NCAA Tournament Championships at the University of San Francisco (USF) died in peace on Sunday, aged 88.
Russell leaves a huge record as being one of most renowned basketballers of the past. He was also one of the key figures of the Civil Rights movement.
He didn’t follow the usual route to fame in sports. LeBron James’s stars may be described as extraordinary generational talents at the age of 7, but colleges did not pay much interest in Russell who was a native of Oakland. hooper who moved in with family to the City at the age of eight. He was the only basketball player on varsity during his final season in McClymonds High School, having been a part of his JV team.
All that changed was at USFwhich was the only school that gave scholarships to students. At USF, he was a high jumper and then was made the starting center under the head coach Phil Woolpert after a successful year as a freshman on the team. He was the top scorer for a team that recorded a 14-7 record during his sophomore year. He and then helped lead the Dons to two national championships in the year 1955 and 1956, scoring around 20 points, and 20 boards in both of the two seasons.
Bill Russell, an 11-time NBA champion who spent the majority of his childhood within the Bay Area and won two NCAA Tournament Championships at the University of San Francisco (USF) He passed away in peace on Sunday, aged 88.
Russell leaves a huge history as one of the best basketballers of the past. He was also an important figure of the Civil Rights movement.
Russell did not follow the standard route to fame in sports. LeBron James’s stars may be classified as a generational superstar from an early age, however colleges did not pay much interest in Russell and the Oakland-based hooper who moved in with family to the City at the age of eight. He was the only basketball player on varsity during the final year of his high school career in McClymonds High School, having played his junior year on JV players. JV team.
The situation changed when he attended USF– the sole school that offered scholarships to students. At USF, he was a high jumper and was named the center of the team under the head coach Phil Woolpert after a successful year as a freshman on the team. He was the top scoring player on a team which posted a 14-7 mark during his sophomore year. He and then helped lead the Dons to two national championships in the year 1955 and 1956. He averaged around 20 points, and 20 boards per game during both seasons.
“Bill Russell helped put USF on the map in the 1950s,” claimed the present president Rev. Paul J. Fitzgerald. “We are grateful not only for his many contributions to our community, the athletic department and Jesuit education but also for his courage and commitment to advancing justice, on and beyond the basketball court.”
Attracted by his accomplishments and accolades, his achievements, St. Louis Hawks selected them with the 2nd overall selection during the 1956 NBA Draft. The Hawks quickly traded him with Boston Celtics. Boston Celtics, where he established himself in the ranks of one of the most renowned professional basketball players ever.
Russell’s NBA career didn’t really start until the middle of the 1956-57 season. This was because Russell chose to remain in his status as an amateur to take part at his first Melbourne Olympics. He was a part of the team that led his United States men’s basketball team to gold.
In his very first playoff game for the Celtics and the Celtics, he collected 31 rebounds during an Eastern Division Finals win over the Syracuse Royals. In a winner-takes-all NBA Finals Game 7 against St. Louis, he scored 32 boards while the Celtics managed to secure an overtime double-overtime win of two points to win their first championship in the history of the franchise.
Despite being subjected to racial harassment from the fans, Russell quickly became synonymous with winning in Boston. Although the Hawks defeated their Celtics in the Finals of 1957, Boston went on to be the champion for the following eight years. The Celtics defeated St. Louis again in seven games in 1960 and while the 122-103 victory in the final game did not require two overtimes , like the one in 1957, Russell racked up 35 rebounding.
Outstanding performance in games that were championship-worthy was typical throughout Russell’s career. He scored 38 and 31 points rebounding at the end of Game 5 from the 1991 Finals, and won another title over the Hawks. The Celtics faced off against their rivals the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time in the 1962 NBA Finals, and Russell scored 40 boards, which was a record that matched his one-game NBA Finals record, in an overtime win in Game 7. The series in 1966, which was also against the Lakers took seven games. Russell helped the Celtics to victory 95-93 by scoring 25 points as well as 32 rebound.
Boston’s dominance was ended with the help of Philadelphia’s 76ers as well as long-time adversaries Wilt Chamberlain in 1967. one of the three years Russell spent as a coach and player. There was only one other coach, Buddy Jeannette of the 1947-48 Baltimore Bullets, has led his team to win a victory; Russell did it in the last two seasons. While there was a Vietnam War and other off-court issues slowed his focus in his final season, Russell was a winner in his final game and teamed up with John Havlicek in leading the Celtics to seven games to win the NBA Finals victory over the Lakers. Russell scored 26 rebounds in his final game as a professional which was a road win of 108-106 which established Boston being the only team in history to make it to at the NBA Finals after losing the first two games.