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Hailed as the greatest winner in sports, Basketball Hall of Fame center Bill Russell led the Boston Celtics to an unprecedented 11 championships in just 13 seasons.
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He most likely would have led the league in block shots, but the NBA had not yet started keeping track of the statistic.
Following 1966 season, in which Russell led the Celtics to an eighth consecutive title, Auerbach retired from coaching. Rather than play for somebody else, Russell took over as a player-coach, steering the team to two more titles in 1968 and 1969.
Following the 1969 season,
Russell retired from the game. Over the next several decades he periodically came back to the game as a coach or as an executive, but his teams failed to win with the kind of regularity he had as a player. He last led the Sacramento Kings as president of basketball operations in the late 1980s.
Russell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.
Even as he won on the court, Russell, an outspoken backer of the civil rights movement, experienced his struggles off it. He was never embraced by Boston fans in the way his white teammates were. On the road it was not uncommon for him to have to sleep in a different hotel from the one the rest of the club used.
Russell has been married three times. With his first wife, Rose, to whom he was married for 17 years, he had three children: a daughter, Karen, and two sons, Buddha and Jacob.
In 2010 Russell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civil honor, from President Obama.
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