The late Bill Russell is one of the greatest champions of all time in NBA history. From his 11 NBA championships to his work for civil rights and equality for African-Americans. He was certainly a tremendous figurehead not only in sports, but also in civil rights. As you’re reading this, you may be wondering why I chose to memorialize him when his passing was already known to many, The reason is simple: he was larger than life.
Bill Russell was not only a Hall of Fame center for the Boston Celtics he was also instrumental in the beginning of the civil rights movement being seen at Martin Luther King I have a dream speech as well as being present for the march on Washington with Dr. King and being there with Cassius Clay (known now as Muhammad Ali) when he decided to famously reject his call to service to serve in the Vietnam war due to his religious beliefs.
He also was instrumental in leading the first player lead boycott in 1961 when African-American players on the Boston Celtics were denied entry into a Kentucky coffee shop. because of their treatment, Bill Russell and his fellow players decided to boycott the game that evening. The boycott made NBA history as it was the first boycott that led to a cancellation of an NBA game. (prior to the 2020 bubble boycott of the shooting of Jacob Blake.)
Fast forward to now, he is widely regarded as one of the most impactful leaders of the civil rights movement as well as one of the greatest NBA players in history. He had his number six retired as a tribute to him by the Boston Celtics, he received the medal of freedom from then President Barack Obama. Needless to say, his legacy has endured and continues to make an impact in the world.