Eleven-time NBA champion and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell died today at age 88, reveals his family through a statement posted to his official social media accounts.
The post is captioned, “An announcement…,” alongside a recent picture of him, his wife, and their two dogs.
“Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side,” reads the post. “Arrangements for his memorial service will be announced soon.”
An announcement… pic.twitter.com/KMJ7pG4R5Z
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) July 31, 2022
They go on to list Russell’s achievements, including, “twice an NCAA champion; captain of a gold-medal-winning US Olympic team; 11 times an NBA champion; and at the helm for two NBA championships as the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team.”
However, besides being a storied NBA player, Russell was also a civil rights activist. The statement shares his activism work, celebrating the wins he made off the court.
View this post on Instagram
“From boycotting a 1961 exhibition game to unmask too-long-tolerated discrimination, to leading Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in the combustible wake of Medgar Evans’ assassination, to decades of activism ultimately recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor that he intended would disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example that, though never his humble intention, will forever inspire teamwork, selflessness and thoughtful change,” continues the post.
The Hall of Famer’s family then thanked fans for keeping him in their prayers amid past health scares, most recently a 2018 hospitalization for dehydration.
The post ends with a touching call to remember the pleasant moments from the player holding the most rings in NBA history.
“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. 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.”
Russell will undoubtedly go down as one of the best players in basketball history, but also as a force of the civil rights movement that inspired change that went beyond the court.
Many fans expressed their condolences.
Bill Russell won:
* 11 NBA Championships as a player
* 2 NBA Championships as a coach
* 2 NCAA Championships
* 5 NBA MVPs
* 11-time All NBA player
An immeasurable impact off the court and the greatest winner in basketball history. RIP. pic.twitter.com/ukmxmQoYgy
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 31, 2022