how many nba finals has bill russell won?

how many nba finals has bill russell won?

how many nba finals has bill russell won?

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how many nba finals has bill russell won?
how many nba finals has bill russell won?

Bill Russell, byname of William Felton Russell, (born February 12, 1934, Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.), American basketball player who was the first outstanding defensive centre in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and one of the sport’s greatest icons. He won 11 NBA titles in the 13 seasons that he played with the Boston Celtics, and he became the first African American coach of a modern major professional sports team in the United States when he was named the player-coach of the Celtics in 1966.

Russell could very easily have never taken up basketball, much less gone on to become one of the sport’s immortals. He was born in rural Louisiana. When Russell was eight years old, his father moved the family to Oakland, California, where the job prospects were better. Russell, while no behemoth, was tall enough to make his high school team on height alone. He was a marginal player until, while on a summer basketball tour he had been selected for as an afterthought, he realized that running and jumping could be used to mirror and counteract the flashy, creative scorers that routinely gave teams fits. It was a breakthrough that would change not only his life but, in the long term, basketball itself.

nba finals

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Russell was lightly recruited by colleges, but Hal DeJulio, a former player at the nearby University of San Francisco (USF), had seen him play and had an inkling as to his potential, so he recommended Russell to his old school. In college, the 6-foot 9-inch (2.06-metre) Russell blossomed, providing a defensive presence that helped lead USF to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in 1955 and 1956. In addition, he was a high-level sprinter and high jumper on USF’s track-and-field team (Wilt Chamberlain, his future archrival, also excelled at track and field up until his pro basketball career).

College Days

During the exhibition tour, a representative from the University of San Francisco (USF) named Hal DeJulio observed Russell and set out to recruit the unusually tall young man. Russell, in turn, welcomed the opportunity for a college scholarship. At DeJulio’s suggestion, Russell took the college entrance exam and applied to USF. To bide his time during the application process, Russell took a job as an apprentice sheet-metal worker at the Naval yard in San Francisco. He continued to play basketball in his spare time and improved his skills and grew continually, for years, even after his peers leveled off.

He was six feet five inches tall when he finished high school, and grew five inches more before reaching his full adult height. With DeJulio as a mentor, Russell secured a full scholarship to USF and supplemented the award with a student job for additional income. Russell by then was very tall and adept at jumping— his leaping reach extended four feet higher than the rim of the basket (14 feet above the ground), and the air-born accomplishment was exhilarating.

Russell played freshman ball and joined the USF Dons’ varsity team as a sophomore in 1953. In his junior year (1954-55) the Dons won the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) championship. Russell received the title of Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament. He averaged 21.4 points per game for the season with 21.5 rebounds per game.

Russell and his college roommate, K. C. Jones, shared a common interest in basketball and would one day play together professionally for the Boston Celtics. They became fast friends and, through mutual encouragement, their approach to the game matured into a cognitive pursuit. Together they considered tactics to improve their play. During the summer of 1955, Russell traveled on a goodwill tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. In conjunction with his participation in a national program to promote physical fitness, Russell also attended a White House luncheon with the President of the United States.

how many nba finals has bill russell won?
how many nba finals has bill russell won?

1956—A Very Good Year

Among the most eventful years of Russell’s life, 1956 was a year to remember. During the course of that single year Russell earned a bachelor of arts degree, joined the elite society of Olympic gold medallists, married his girlfriend, and signed a contract with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Early in that year Russell reduced his academic load, in anticipation of the upcoming summer Olympics. He later refused an offer from Abe Saperstein, owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, to play professionally with the team. Russell feared it would jeopardize his eligibility for the U.S. Olympic basketball team. To Russell’s gratification he was given a spot on the Olympic team and won a gold medal at the games in Melbourne, Australia.

During the 1956 NBA draft Russell, a second round pick, went to the Boston Celtics under unusual circumstances. As a highly ranked team, the Celtics could not pick early in the draft. Head coach, Red Auerbach, nonetheless wanted Russell to play with his team. Auerbach sacrificed two of his best players in return for an early draft option. Russell was drafted and remained with the Celtics from 1957 until his retirement in 1969.

All-Star Career

During his dynamic career Russell left his mark as the greatest defensive player in the history of the NBA. He was a true team player; a highly effective re-bounder and a leviathan jumper. Prior to Russell, it was unheard of in the NBA for a player to position himself strictly for the purpose of blocking opposing scorers and without concern for sinking baskets. Russell in fact was a mediocre ball handler, and Auerbach instructed him to avoid shooting or carrying the ball. Yet the years that coincided with Russell’s playing career bear the nickname the “Bill Russell Era.”

Critics maintained that Russell’s presence on the team was a key factor in 11 NBA championships won by the Celtics from 1957 through 1969. Russell started with the Boston Celtics at a salary of $19,500; he wore jersey number 6. Celtics center Arnie Risen, whom Russell replaced, graciously assisted the rookie in mastering the finesse of professional basketball.

In 1957-59 Russell played in the NBA all-star game. His team won the NBA championship in 1957, 1959-66, and again in 1968 and 1969. Prior to Russell’s rookie season the Celtics had never won a championship. Thereafter they lost only two championships during his entire 13-season career. When Auerbach retired, he selected Russell to replace him as coach; Russell was the first African American to coach a NBA team. He continued as a player and coach, until 1969 when he retired with 11 NBA championships to his credit as a player, including two as a coach.

Honorable Mentions

Russell retired from the Celtics in 1969, having led the league in time played (40,726 minutes). He also led in career rebounds, with a total of 21,721. He received five Most Valuable Player awards: in 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1965. The NBA revised some rules in reaction to Russell’s great prowess, including a limitation on in-the-air assists. Years later, as celebrations were underway to mark the end of the second millennium in 1999, cable sports network ESPN duly named Russell among the top 50 athletes of the previous 100 years in a retrospective of 20th century sports.

Fans and colleagues failed to understand Russell’s reluctance to be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1974. He was the first African American in history to be so honored, and an entire community hoped to share his pride in the moment. His hesitation might have stemmed from an incident that occurred in 1971 when the city of Boston held a public celebration in Russell’s honor. During the festivities, thugs—apparently motivated by racism— rampaged and violated Russell’s residence. After thoughtful consideration, Russell attended the Hall of Fame ceremony and accepted the compliment.

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Personal

Russell left his mark in sports history as an innovator and a great man. He refused to sign autographs, yet he never avoided his fans. Instead he mingled with them, talked to them, and shook their hands—to Russell those gestures were more personal than signing a piece of paper. He wrote an autobiography, Go Up for Glory, and recorded a memoir for Random House, Second Wind, with Taylor Branch in 1979.

Russell was among a small group of professional athletes who took a public stand during the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s. He participated in the 1963 March on Washington and set up an integrated sports training camp in the southern United States. The NAACP cited other contributions by Russell that improved the quality of life for underprivileged students of the Boston public schools. Additionally Russell invested in a program to purchase rubber plantations in the African nation of Liberia, in an effort to create jobs and spur the economy of that nation.

Russell and his first wife had three children: William Jr., Karen Kenyatta, and Jacob. The couple separated in 1969 and divorced in 1973. He was briefly married to the former Miss USA, Didi Anstett. During his years with the Boston Celtics Russell lived in Reading, Massachusetts.

Who Has The Most Championship Rings In NBA History?
how many nba finals has bill russell won?
how many nba finals has bill russell won?

Whenever individual greatness is discussed in the NBA, rings are going to be mentioned sooner or later.

Following the conclusion of each NBA postseason, players from the winning team each receive a  ‘championship ring’ which honors their contribution. Of course, the number of rings an individual player accumulates over their career is often used as a measurement for their greatness.

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