Basketball legend Bill Russell passes away at 88

Fans of the Boston Celtics were saddened this weekend to learn that legendary basketball player Bill Russell had died. 

Russell’s Twitter account released a statement on Sunday explaining that he “passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side.”

NBA commissioner called Russell “the greatest champion in all of team sports”

USA Today reported that NBA commissioner Adam Silver put out a statement in which he praised Russell for being “the greatest champion in all of team sports.”

“The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics – including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards – only begin to tell the story of Bill’s immense impact on our league and broader society,” Silver added.

“Bill was the ultimate winner and consummate teammate, and his influence on the NBA will be felt forever,” the commissioner concluded.

Meanwhile, Russell’s former team pointed to his achievements in a tweet that read, “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.”

Russell gave credit to teammates

USA Today noted that Russell sounded a humble note in 2014 when he spoke at the unveiling ceremony for a statue of himself at Boston’s City Hall.

“I played a team game and the only important statistic was who won the game. So, I would always thank my teammates for letting me help them be champions. There are some things I’m proud of,” Russell declared.

“For instance, I never once led the Celtics in scoring. I heard guys on other teams say, you ought to lead your team in scoring. So I’d look at where their team was,” he continued.

“When you’re playing a team game, the only important statistic is the final score. Some nights, I’d have four points, but if we won the game it wouldn’t matter,” he insisted.

The paper recalled how Russell’s “drive for success” helped turn the Celtics “into a dynasty” when he joined the in 1957.

Russell remained with the team until 1969 when he left to become a sports commentator for ABC and then later a basketball coach.

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