The chip collector.
If any Top 10 greatest basketball players of all-time list excludes Bill Russell, it invalidates the entire ranking.
A Hall of Famer and 11-time champion who averaged 22 rebounds per game, Russell’s Boston Celtics were the premier teams of their era. Russell also was the first black coach in NBA history, where he won two of his 11 rings as a player-coach. His dominance on both the offensive and defensive was only equalled by a select few in sports history.
— Kobe-Wan KeNoPass (@Kobes_Lakers) September 12, 2018
Russell has been subject to a public resurgence of late. While flipping off Charles Barkley endeared Russell to a new generation as a filterless old man, Russell’s work as a civil activist deserves unending praise.
My take on the power of mentoring in support of A #NightOfUnity hosted by @PlayersTribune. As a @MENTORnational co-founder and aim to inspire others to get involved. Check out the online auction at https://t.co/hxsTIBkCx1 and bid today! #MentorIRL pic.twitter.com/l0OnwZzYb8 @NBA
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) September 12, 2018
Russell has partnered with MENTOR, a non-profit that seeks to improve mentoring of and leadership within local communities, with several leadership programs targeted at children.
In a video essay posted to his Twitter, Russell remarks on his own upbringing, the values of working hard, and not losing one’s humanity.
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) September 25, 2017
While Russell had been dealing with heart troubles and dehydration, he recently tweeted that he was recovering well.
In so many ways, the world needs more of Bill Russell, not less.
A prominent civil rights and societal reform activist, Russell was a fervent supporter of the Black Power movement and defended Muhammad Ali when the latter refused to be drafted into the military due to his religious beliefs.
Taken last September, a photo of himself taking a knee in solidarity with those protesting the national anthem, Medal of Freedom draped around his neck, is an extremely powerful and resonating image.
This article first appeared on 12up.
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