Boston Celtics

<> on February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC.

  • The world lost a legend Sunday with the passing of Bill Russell at the age of 88.

    A premier winner in North American sports, with 11 pro championships won during his lifetime (something that only Russell and the Canadiens’ Henri Richard can claim), Russell was a truly larger than life figure. On and off the court.

    “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 Celtics said in a team statement. “Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports – an 11-time NBA champion, including winning eight consecutive titles, a five-time MVP, an Olympic Gold Medalist and the NBA’s first Black head coach.

    “Bill Russell‘s DNA is woven through every element of the Celtics organization, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory, to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off the court.

    “Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn his passing and celebrate his enormous legacy in basketball, Boston, and beyond.”

    It was the first of countless tributes that would pour in throughout the day and into the night.

  • Following the statement from the team and ownership, C’s president of basketball operations Brad Stevens sent his condolences, and also threw some appreciation at Russell for setting the championship standard that Stevens and the C’s are hoping to build off after a run to the 2022 NBA Finals.

  • In addition to Stevens, Celtics star Jaylen Brown paid his respects to Russell with a series of tweets acknowledging the impact that Russell, a strong civil rights leader throughout his life, had on him.

  • But Brown wasn’t the only current Celtic with love for No. 6.

  • Celtics legend Paul Pierce, who won the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award in 2008 when the Celtics defeated the Lakers in six games, also shared his memories of his time with the iconic Russell.

  • Another former NBA Finals MVP winner, Cedric Maxwell, also shared a touching tribute to the man he considered his hero.

    “He was a guy who did it all,” Maxwll said. “Man, did I love him as a player, coach, and person.”

  • Love and appreciation for Russell and his importance to Boston also extended outside of the Celtic franchise.

  • The passing of Russell also saw the infamous Celtics-Lakers rivalry put on hold in appreciation of one of the game’s all-time greats.

  • The tributes were leaguewide, with more than a few notables paying their respects to Russell’s legacy.

     

  • President Barack Obama, who awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, also took to Twitter to write on a thread on the importance and impact of Russell’s legacy.