Muere Bill Russell, leyenda de los Celtics a los 88 años / NBA legend Bill Russell dies at 88

Familiares confirman muerte de la leyenda del NBA, Bill Russell. Se despiden por medio de redes sociales…Muere Bill Russell Celtics

  • La leyenda de la NBA fallece a los 88 años
  • La larga carrera de Bill Russell, triunfo tras triunfo
  • Familiares del ex deportista se despiden

Muere Bill Russell Celtics. El mundo del deporte está de luto. Acaban de dar a conocer la lamentable muerte de la leyenda de la NBA, Bill Russell. El legendario jugador acaba de fallecer este domingo, así lo comunicaron sus familiares a través de su cuenta de Twitter, en donde postearon algunas fotografías.

Russell tuvo una larga carrera dentro del basquetbol, fue catalogado como uno de los más importantes y seguirá siendo recordado como una leyenda. Miles de fanáticos están despidiendo a la leyenda por medio de las redes sociales, en donde se dio a conocer la noticia.

Bill Russell, la leyenda de la NBA que fue el pilar de la dinastía de los Celtics de Boston que ganó 11 campeones en 13 años — los últimos como el prime entrenador de raza negra en una liga profesional de Estados Unidos — y que marchó por los derechos civiles junto a Martin Luther King Jr., falleció el domingo. Tenía 88 años.

De acuerdo con informes de Associated Press, su familia difundió la noticia en las redes sociales. Indicaron que Russell falleció acompañado por su esposa, Jeannine. La declaración no mencionó la causa del deceso. Hasta el momento no se han dado declaraciones sobre lo sucedido.

Miembro del Salón de la Fama, cinco veces Jugador Más Valioso y 12 veces seleccionado para el Juego de Estrellas, Russell fue proclamado en 1980 como el mejor jugador en la historia de la NBA tras una votación de cronistas de baloncesto.

AP comunicó que Russell sigue siendo el jugador más laureado del deporte y un modelo de sacrificio, dedicándose al trabajo defensivo para dejarle a los demás que se encargaran de anotar los puntos. A menudo, ello benefició a Wilt Chamberlain, el único jugador de la era que le hacía sombra a Russell.

Russell llevó a la Universidad de San Francisco a la conquista de los campeonatos de la NCAA en 1955 y 1956, Associated Press mencionó que Russell también ganó la medalla olímpica de oro en los Juegos de Melbourne 1956, la cual, lo hizo obtener un enorme reconocimiento.

En Boston, Russell dejó una huella imborrable como un deportista de raza negro en plena época de segregación en la ciudad y el país. En 2011, el presidente Barack Obama confirió a Russell la Medalla de la Libertad. Hace dos años, una estatua de Russell fue develada en la Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Boston.

Por medio de Twitter, la familia de Bill Russell publicaron una carta en honor al trabajo que el reconocido basquetbolista hizo durante tantos años. Acompañada de una fotografía con el deportista, sus familiares se despidieron con unas conmovedoras palabras.

“A pesar de todos sus triunfos, la comprensión de Bill de protestar es lo que iluminó su vida. Décadas de activismo finalmente lo hicieron meritorio de recibir la Medalla Presidencial de la Libertad en 2010”. Se lee en las palabras expresadas por sus familiares en Twitter. Por Patricia Ontiveros

Celtics legend and 11-time NBA Champion Bill Russell died ‘peacefully’ at the age of 88, his family confirmed Sunday.

BOSTON (AP) — Bill Russell, the NBA great who anchored a Boston Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years — the last two as the first Black head coach in any major U.S. sport — and marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr., died Sunday. He was 88.

His family posted the news on social media, saying Russell died with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. The statement did not give the cause of death.

“Bill’s wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded,” the family statement said. “And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that Russell was “the greatest champion in all of team sports.”

“Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league. At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps,” Silver said. “Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

A Hall of Famer, five-time Most Valuable Player and 12-time All-Star, Russell in 1980 was voted the greatest player in the NBA history by basketball writers. He remains the sport’s most prolific winner as a player and an archetype of selflessness who won with defense and rebounding while leaving the scoring to others. Often, that meant Wilt Chamberlain, the only player of the era who was a worthy rival for Russell.

But Russell dominated in the only stat he cared about: 11 championships to two.

The native of Louisiana also left a lasting mark as a Black athlete in a city — and country — where race is often a flash point. He was at the March on Washington in 1963, when King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, and he backed Muhammad Ali when the boxer was pilloried for refusing induction into the military draft.

“To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was,” the Boston Celtics said in a statement.

In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Medal of Freedom alongside Congressman John Lewis, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and baseball great Stan Musial.

“Bill Russell, the man, is someone who stood up for the rights and dignity of all men,” Obama said at the ceremony. “He marched with King; he stood by Ali. When a restaurant refused to serve the Black Celtics, he refused to play in the scheduled game. He endured insults and vandalism, but he kept on focusing on making the teammates who he loved better players and made possible the success of so many who would follow.”

Following news of his death, many NBA stars reflected on Russell’s impact and legacy. Michael Jordan described Russell to be “a pioneer – as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first Black head coach and as an activist.”

“He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.”

Russell said that when he was growing up in the segregated South and later California his parents instilled in him the calm confidence that allowed him to brush off racist taunts.

“Years later, people asked me what I had to go through,” Russell said in 2008. “Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’ve never been through anything. From my first moment of being alive was the notion that my mother and father loved me.” It was Russell’s mother who would tell him to disregard comments from those who might see him playing in the yard.

“Whatever they say, good or bad, they don’t know you,” he recalled her saying. “They’re wrestling with their own demons.”

But it was Jackie Robinson who gave Russell a road map for dealing with racism in his sport: “Jackie was a hero to us. He always conducted himself as a man. He showed me the way to be a man in professional sports.”

The feeling was mutual, Russell learned, when Robinson’s widow, Rachel, called and asked him to be a pallbearer at her husband’s funeral in 1972.

“She hung the phone up and I asked myself, ‘How do you get to be a hero to Jackie Robinson?’” Russell said. “I was so flattered.”

William Felton Russell was born on Feb. 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana. He was a child when his family moved to the West Coast, and he went to high school in Oakland, California, and then the University of San Francisco. He led the Dons to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956 and won a gold medal in 1956 at the Melbourne Olympics in Australia.

Celtics coach and general manager Red Auerbach so coveted Russell that he worked out a trade with the St. Louis Hawks for the second pick in the draft. He promised the Rochester Royals, who owned the No. 1 pick, a lucrative visit by the Ice Capades, which were also run by Celtics owner Walter Brown.

Still, Russell arrived in Boston to complaints that he wasn’t that good. “People said it was a wasted draft choice, wasted money,” he recalled. “They said, ‘He’s no good. All he can do is block shots and rebound.’ And Red said, ‘That’s enough.’”

The Celtics won the NBA championship — their first of 17 — in a double-overtime seventh game against Bob Pettit’s St. Louis Hawks. Russell won his first MVP award the next season, but the Hawks won the title in a finals rematch. The Celtics won it all again in 1959, starting an unprecedented string of eight consecutive NBA crowns.

A 6-foot-10 center, Russell never averaged more than 18.9 points during his 13 seasons, each year averaging more rebounds per game than points. For 10 seasons he averaged more than 20 rebounds. He once had 51 rebounds in a game; Chamberlain holds the record with 55.

Auerbach retired after winning the 1966 title, and Russell became the player-coach — the first Black head coach in NBA history, and almost a decade before Frank Robinson took over baseball’s Cleveland Indians. Boston finished with the second-best regular-season record in the NBA, and its title streak ended with a loss to Chamberlain and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Division finals.

Russell led the Celtics back to titles in 1968 and ’69, each time winning seven-game playoff series against Chamberlain. Russell retired after the ’69 finals, returning for a relatively successful — but unfulfilling — four-year stint as coach and GM of the Seattle SuperSonics and a less fruitful half season as coach of the Sacramento Kings.

Russell’s No. 6 jersey was retired by the Celtics in 1972. He earned spots on the NBA’s 25th anniversary all-time team in 1970, 35th anniversary team in 1980 and 75th anniversary team. In 1996, he was hailed as one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players.

In 2009, the MVP trophy of the NBA Finals was named in his honor — even though Russell never won himself, because it wasn’t awarded for the first time until 1969. Russell, however, traditionally presented the trophy for many years, the last time in 2019 to Kawhi Leonard; Russell was not there in 2020 because of the NBA bubble nor in 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns.

In 2013, a statue was unveiled on Boston’s City Hall Plaza of Russell surrounded by blocks of granite with quotes on leadership and character. Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 but did not attend the ceremony, saying he should not have been the first African American elected. (Chuck Cooper, the NBA’s first Black player, was his choice.)

In 2019, Russell accepted his Hall of Fame ring in a private gathering. “I felt others before me should have had that honor,” he tweeted. “Good to see progress.”

Silver said he “often called (Russell) basketball’s Babe Ruth for how he transcended time.”

“Bill was the ultimate winner and consummate teammate, and his influence on the NBA will be felt forever,” Silver added. “We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Jeannine, his family and his many friends.”

His family said that arrangements for Russell’s memorial service will be announced in the coming days.

Associated Press