Bill Russell will receive NBA Lifetime Achievement Award
Bill Russell can add another piece of hardware to his collection. The Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient will receive the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural NBA Awards June 26. Nobody is more deserving of the honor.
Russell, 83, won 11 championships with the Celtics –– including every Game 7 he ever played in. He also took home an Olympic Gold Medal and secured back-to-back championships at the University of San Francisco in 1955 and 1956.
In addition to his unparalleled accomplishments on the court, Russell was a civil rights pioneer. He became the first African-American to coach a professional sports team in 1966, when Red Auerbach appointed him to the position. Two years later, Russell became the first black coach to win a championship, leading Boston to back-to-back titles in 1968 and 1969.
Russell, who now lives on Mercer Island off the coast of Washington, was a recluse for large stretches of time in the decades following his NBA career. He didn’t attend his own Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1975 and also had a strained relationship with Boston, due to the city’s history of racial strife. But that’s changed as of late. Russell started to appear more in public at the start of the new millennium, beginning with Leigh Montville’s 1999 Sports Illustrated profile, “The Ring Leader.” He’s now a regular at the T.D. Garden and other NBA events. The Finals MVP trophy was renamed after him in 2009.
In 2013, Boston erected a statue at City Hall Plaza to honor Russell, complete with 11 plinths that represent the 11 championships he won with the Celtics.
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Source: GreenStreet Blog