Invoice Russell, 11-time NBA champion and civil rights advocate, dies at 88

Invoice Russell, 11-time NBA champion and civil rights advocate, dies at 88

Russell defended the Boston Celtics’ colors during his 13 seasons in the NBA; he is considered the most victorious athlete in the league

Bill Russellconsidered one of the greatest players in the history of the Boston Celtics and the history of the NBA, died this Sunday at the age of 88. The announcement was made on the athlete’s own profile on social media.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we want to inform all of Bill’s friends, fans and followers,” the statement added. “Bill Russell, the most political winner in American sports history, died peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeaninne, by his side,” he continued. “Preparations for his memorial will be announced shortly,” the note continued.

Throughout his basketball career, the center has compiled a legacy of unparalleled achievements in any sport. As the dominant defensive player of his generation, he won an Olympic gold medal for the U.S. basketball team in 1956 and, over the next 13 years, led the Boston Celtics to 11 NBA championships. Russell has been awarded the NBA MVP award five times and twelve All-Star Game calls.

Russell defended the colors of the Boston Celtics during his 13 seasons in the NBA. He is considered the most successful athlete in the league.

At his peak, Russell was 220 pounds of muscle and 6 feet tall. Fast and agile, he had a superior vertical leap and used his wingspan to block rival pitches. With his athletic shooting and rebound blocking skills, he revolutionized the way basketball was played on defense.

Amidst the celebration of his prowess as a player, Russell also struggled with prejudice and segregation. Born in the Jim Crow South, he was often described as private, introspective, prickly and principled.

In 1958, he accused the NBA of using a quota system to limit the number of black players on each team. He participated in civil rights marches with Martin Luther King Jr., but questioned the movement’s nonviolent strategy, arguing that African Americans had the right to defend themselves.

Russell’s strong personality and direct way of speaking did not endear him to some fans in Boston, which had a long history of racial intolerance. The Boston Red Sox baseball team did not integrate until 1959, and the protests in Boston against federal court-ordered school desegregation in the 1970s were among the most violent in the country.

Source: O Globo Agency

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