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Bill Russell Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of Bill Russe...

Posted: Jan 29, 2018 9:24 AM
Updated: Jan 29, 2018 9:24 AM

Here's a look at the life of Bill Russell, Hall of Fame center who played with the Boston Celtics.

Personal: Birth date: February 12, 1934

Birth place: Monroe, Louisiana

Birth name: William Felton Russell

Father: Charles Russell

Mother: Katie (King) Russell

Marriages: Marilyn Nault (1996-January 2009, her death); Dorothy "Didi" Anstett (1977-1980, divorced); Rose Swisher (1956-1973, divorced)

Children: with Rose Swisher: Karen; William Jr. "Buddha"; Jacob

Education: University of San Francisco, B.A., 1956

Other Facts: Six-foot-nine center known for his defense and ability to block shots.

Won 11 NBA championships in his 13 years with the Boston Celtics in 1957, 1959-1966 and 1968-1969.

Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player in 1958, 1961-1963 and 1965.

Twelve-time NBA All-Star from 1958-1969 and All-Star MVP in 1963.

Served as a color commentator for televised basketball games, in between his coaching jobs.

Emeritus board member of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.

His older brother was playwright Charlie L. Russell.

Timeline: 1955 and 1956 - Leads the San Francisco Dons to back-to-back NCAA basketball championships and an undefeated season in 1956.

April 29, 1956 - Selected second overall in the NBA draft by the St. Louis Hawks and then traded to the Boston Celtics.

November 1956 - Captain of the US men's basketball team that wins gold in the Melbourne Olympics.

December 1956-1969 - Center with the Boston Celtics.

1966-1969 - Serves as player-coach of the Boston Celtics, making him the first African-American head coach in the NBA.

1973-1977 - Head coach and general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics.

1975 - Russell is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

November 1987-1988 - Head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

2001 - A memoir/motivational book, "Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner" is published.

February 2009 - NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that the Finals MVP Trophy will be renamed the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.

February 2011 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

October 2011 - Joins other players in a class action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company for using their likenesses in a videogame without permission or compensation.

October 16, 2013 - Is arrested for bringing a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun to Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle. He is issued a state citation and released.

November 1, 2013 - A bronze statue of Russell is unveiled on Boston City Hall Plaza. The statue is erected by the Bill Russell Legacy Project, which also developed the Bill Russell Mentoring Grant Program.

May 31, 2014 - Electronic Arts and the Collegiate Licensing Company finalize a $40 million settlement with Russell and other college athletes in the class action lawsuit. The NCAA remains as the sole defendant.

July 17, 2014 - Is briefly hospitalized after collapsing on-stage during a speaking engagement near Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Celtics officials later say that Russell is feeling better and expected to fly home to Seattle that same day.

August 8, 2014 - A federal judge rules in favor of Russell and others college athletes who sued to end the NCAA's control over the rights to college athletes' names, images and likenesses.

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