Bill Russell Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (40)

Overview (3)

Born in Monroe, Louisiana, USA
Birth NameWilliam Felton Russell
Height 6' 9½" (2.07 m)

Mini Bio (1)

The term Dynasty might have never applied to Basketball had it not been for Bill Russell. In the History of professional sports there has never been an athlete who has more accolades or championships, in other words Bill Russell is not only a champion, but he is perhaps the definition of a champion. Bill Russell did not create the first basketball dynasty, but to date, through Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird Bill Russell has one more championships than any other basketball player.

Bill Russell was born in Monroe, Louisiana in 1934. At the age of 9 he moved to Oakland. While in Oakland he was very poor but became a skillful basketball player. At 18 he went to college, at San Francisco, where he won two NCAA Championships in 1955 and 1956. In 1956 Bill Russell entered the NBA draft. He was drafted second overall, by the St. Louis Hawks, but was traded to the Boston Celtics for Ed Macauley, in a deal spearheaded by Red Auerbach, the coach of the Boston Celtics. Macauley was part of a solid offensive unit with Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, but the team had a missing piece to the puzzle.

As America would soon find out Bill Russell would be that missing piece. Although Bill Russell played less than 50 games, due to the fact he has won a gold medal for basketball in the Olympics, in his first NBA season he definitely made his presence felt. Russell Brought an aspect to basketball that had rarely been explored before: defense. Bill Russell knew that basketball was not so much scoring, but keeping your opponent from scoring as well. Bill Russell viewed basketball as a science, and played the game with an analytical view as well as with an emotional intensity.

Russell played the game psychologically as well, defending his various opponents so well that many times he made those he defended feel like they could not score a basket. This intensity not only paid off in the Olympics, and in college, but it would have an immediate impact in the NBA. Bill Russell would lead the Boston Celtics to 9 straight NBA titles, many times over vaunted rivals the Philadelphia Warriors, and later the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Russell would lead these teams over some other among the greatest of all time, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Hal Greer, and his most famous rival Wilt Chamberlain.

While Russell was rewriting Boston sports history he faced immense racism from the most devout Celtics fan. His home was accosted on a few occasions, and he heard he would not get MVP because he was black from a reporter. Still yet Bill Russell was without a doubt one of the finest players of his day. In the long line of dominance the Boston Celtics would exercise over the NBA the most legendary years were in his final years. In 1966 Wilt Chamberlain was traded from the Golden State warriors to his new hometown Philadelphia 76ers. For the first time in the Bill Russell- Wilt Chamberlain rivalry Chamberlain could not say he did not have the team to beat the Celtics, although many contend that the Celtics were evenly match if not inferior in talent to their many rivals. The Philadelphia 76ers did beat the Boston Celtics in 1967, but in 1966 and 1968 the Celtics, not quite to the level of the Sixers.

But in 1968 it was truly Bill Russell that beat the Sixers, as he was not the heart and soul on the court, but was now it's head coach, which he became in 1967 after legend Red Auerbach retired. He would not let his defeat in 1967 keep him down. He would return and defeat the Sixers in 1968, in a hotly contested Conference Final series, and easily defeat the Lakers in the Finals. At the end of the season Wilt Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, taking Chamberlain to the other arch-rival of the Boston Celtics. In 1969 most of the fabled Celtics had long been gone or had recently retired. Only Bill Russell remained of the fabled Boston Celtics, except for the emerging superstar John Havlichek, and ageing star Sam Jones. Russell now had the daunting task of taking a bottom seed to defeat some of the best teams of all time, including a newly revamped Philadelphia after the Chamberlain trade, who they beat, and the New York Knickerbockers, led by Willis Reed, Walt Bellamy, and Walt Frazier, who they beat in 6, and set the match for the Los Angeles Lakers, which now had Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, as well as Jerry West and Elgin Baylor always fell short to the Celtics. This year, alongside Gail Goodrich and Happy Hairston, and a very deep bench, which included future Laker's Coach Pat Riley the Lakers looked to beat the Celtics for the first time in the Finals. After taking the first two at home the Lakers returned to the Boston Garden to lose the next two. The Celtics then lost to Los Angeles in the Forum in Game 5, and the Celtics returned to the Boston Garden in game 6 and won that contest. Game Seven in the Finals was one of the most legendary ever played in the history of American sports. First Laker's owner Jack Kent Cooke had filled the rafters with purple and yellow balloons balloons and intended to drop them after the Lakers won. When word of this got back to Bill Russell, he told his teammates something to the affect of "We're going to have to do something about that." Also at the end of the game Wilt Chamberlain was taken out of the game by unpopular coach Butch van Breda Kolff. An explanation van Breda Kolff gave to Chamberlain was "we're doing fine without you." Without Chamberlain and an injured Jerry West, it was not enough to defeat the Celtics, who won by only two points.

Russell later said Chamberlain was week, and should have demanded to go back into the game. The two who were previous friends were now very distant. Russell knew that he had won, but he wanted to win over Chamberlain, and did not. No matter the game went to seven games when it should have been much shorter. The Celtics who were supposedly way past their prime were led by Bill Russell to their eleventh championship, they were only the third team to repeat a championship, the first were the Minneapolis Lakers, and the second were the Boston Celtics. Russell was truly nothing short of a champion.

Since his historic victory Bill Russell has been active in broadcasting for NBA games, and occasionally coaching, including the Seattle Supersonics in the 1970s and the Sacramento Kings in the 1980s. He was not ready for the coaching job, and did an all around bad job, sadly enough. He is a best-selling author and thirty years after he won he remained a recognizable face and a legend. Until Michael Jordan he was almost unanimously acclaimed as the greatest player of all time, and some still think he is. But without Bill Russell there is no doubt the Boston Celtics would not be the legendary professional sports team they have become in their legendary run of championships.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: moviemuskie@yahoo.com

Spouse (2)

Dorothy Anstett (8 June 1977 - ?) ( divorced)
Rose Swisher (9 December 1956 - 1973) ( divorced) ( 3 children)

Trivia (40)

Played professional basketball for the Boston Celtics.
Inducted into the Sport in Society Hall of Fame, 2000.
Enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, 1975.
After Red Auerbach retired as Celtics' coach in 1966, Russell became player-coach, thereby becoming the first ever African-American to direct a team in a professional sports league. Led the Celtics to NBA titles in 1967-1968 and 1968-1969.
Also coached the NBA's Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings.
One of the first players to utilize the blocked shot as a weapon. He would direct his blocks to a player releasing on a fast break or off the backboard to keep the ball in play. Before, most players would just reject the blocked shot into the stands.
Selected by the St. Louis (now Atlanta) Hawks as a territorial draft choice in 1954. His draft rights were traded by the Hawks to the Boston Celtics for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley. Joined the Celtics in mid-season in 1956-1957 after a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters. That season, he led the Celtics to what would be the first of 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons.
NBA All-Defensive First Team (1969).
Twelve-time NBA All-Star (1958-1969).
MVP All-Star Game (1963) after 19 points and 24 rebounds.
Declared Greatest Player in the History of the NBA by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America (1980).
NBA 25th Anniversary All-Time Team (1970).
NBA 35th Anniversary All-Time Team (1980).
NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team (1996).
Celtics retired his jersey number 6.
Named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated (1968).
Member, gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Team (1956).
USA Player of the Year (1956).
As head coach, compiled a 341-290 record (.540) in eight seasons.
NCAA Most Outstanding Player (1955).
NBA Most Valuable Player (1958, 1961-1963, 1965).
All-NBA First Team (1959, 1963, 1965).
All-NBA Second Team (1958, 1960-1962, 1964, 1966-1968).
NBA Boston Celtics, player/head coach (1966-1969).
NBA Seattle Supersonics, player/head coach (1973-1977).
NBA Sacramento Kings, player/head coach (1987-1988).
Two-time All-Conference, State, District and American.
Holds the NBA single-game record for most rebounds in a half (32) vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 16, 1957.
Celtics's all-time leading rebounder (21,620, 22.5 rpg) in 963 games; second best in history.
Holds career playoff record for most rebounds (4,104, 24.9 rpg) in 165 games.
Holds NBA Finals record for highest rebound per game average (29.5 rpg, 1959) and by a rookie (22.9 rpg, 1957).
Holds NBA Finals single-game record for most free throws attempted in one half (15, April 11, 1961) vs. St. Louis; most rebounds (40, March 29, 1960 vs. St. Louis and April 18, 1962 vs. Los Angeles); most rebounds by a rookie (32, April 13, 1967 vs. St. Louis); and most rebounds in a quarter (19, April 18, 1962 vs. Los Angeles).
Children: William Jr., Karen Kenyatta, and Jacob.
His second wife, Dorothy "Didi" Anstett, was the 1968 Miss USA.
Attended McClymonds High School in Oakland, California
Brother of playwright Charlie L. Russell.
Inducted into the ESPN Boston Hall of Fame in 2011 (inaugural class) with Red Auerbach, Larry Bird, Bobby Orr, and Ted Williams.
Refuses to sign autographs.
Despite winning 11 championships in 13 seasons with the Celtics, Russell greatly disliked playing in Boston and was often the target of racism.
Consultant, Boston Celtics (1999-present). [December 2003]

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