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Bill Russell

Bill Russell

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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

In his lifetime, sports legend Bill Russell won every basketball honor there was to win, two NCAA and 11 NBA titles, became the first African-American head coach in a major American team sport and off the court, quietly made himself a civil rights hero. Born in the South and raised in Northern California, Russell grew into an imposing 6'9" athletic wonder and became a basketball star at the University of San Francisco in the mid-1950s. He led USF to two consecutive NCAA titles, the U.S. basketball team to Olympic gold, and the Boston Celtics to an NBA title all in the span of two years, yet the fact that he remained a second-class citizen off the court imprinted a proud champion with an icy demeanor characterized by a career-long refusal to embrace public stardom. The Celtics' 1956 championship would be the first of 11 across 13 seasons with Russell as their center. He became increasingly politicized amid the upheavals of the 1960s yet in 1966, engendered a civil rights victory as he donned the additional duties of head coach of the Celtics. He guided them to two additional titles before retiring in 1969. After a mediocre stint coaching the Seattle SuperSonics in the mid-1970s, he joined CBS as a...

In his lifetime, sports legend Bill Russell won every basketball honor there was to win, two NCAA and 11 NBA titles, became the first African-American head coach in a major American team sport and off the court, quietly made himself a civil rights hero. Born in the South and raised in Northern California, Russell grew into an imposing 6'9" athletic wonder and became a basketball star at the University of San Francisco in the mid-1950s. He led USF to two consecutive NCAA titles, the U.S. basketball team to Olympic gold, and the Boston Celtics to an NBA title all in the span of two years, yet the fact that he remained a second-class citizen off the court imprinted a proud champion with an icy demeanor characterized by a career-long refusal to embrace public stardom. The Celtics' 1956 championship would be the first of 11 across 13 seasons with Russell as their center. He became increasingly politicized amid the upheavals of the 1960s yet in 1966, engendered a civil rights victory as he donned the additional duties of head coach of the Celtics. He guided them to two additional titles before retiring in 1969. After a mediocre stint coaching the Seattle SuperSonics in the mid-1970s, he joined CBS as a game analyst. Never a primary offensive threat yet still able to dominate the game, Russell embodied what pure competitive smarts and a chip on the shoulder could achieve, even as repeatedly battled racist institutions that long begrudged him those achievements.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Biloxi Blues (1988) Rifle Instructor
2.
 On the Right Track (1981) Robert
3.
 Civil Rights Heroes (2001) Interviewee
4.
 Bill Russell: My Life, My Way (2000) Interviewee
7.
 NBA at 50 (1996)
8.
 History of the NBA (1990) Co-Host
9.
10.
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