Vintage Celtics – Bill Russel, Boston Legend
Boston has a very rich history of excellence, which runs across various competitive sports. For many people, the Boston Celtics first come to mind. In this blog post, Stephen Stapinski of Andover shares some trivia on one of the forefathers of Boston basketball, Bill Russel.
1. William Felton Russell was an excellent player, who was no stranger to a winning tradition. He is the only player to have won a collegiate, NBA, and Olympic championship at the very young age of 23, a record that still stands to this day.
2. Several trades have been dubbed as the worst in NBA history, and one of them involved Bill Russel. In 1956, the St. Louis Hawks traded his draft rights for Cliff Hagan and Ed Macauley. With his Boston Celtics, Russel beat the Hawks in the NBA Finals three times.
3. Stephen Stapinski from Andover, along with many die-hard Boston basketball fans, are puzzled with Bill Russel’s non-inclusion in several top NBA awards. For instance, Russel won the MVP in 1958, 1961, and 1962. However, he was not included in the NBA mythical team in these years.
4. Where statistics have said so much about a player’s greatness and significance to the game in terms of what he contributed, Bill Russel averaged a whopping 18.6 rebounds per game one year before he decided to retire. What makes this so noteworthy is that it was his career-low rebounding average.
5. Bill Russel belonged to a different class. Stephen Stapinski of Andover mentions that he ranks among the highest with the most number of MVP awards at 5, tying Michael Jordan, and following only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
6. Today, Bill Russel holds the record for having won the most number of NBA championships in history with 11 rings in 13 seasons of his career. It seems that this record will remain unbeaten for a very long time, since the most number of championship rings held by any active player today is three rings, as Stephen Stapinski from Andover points out.
7. Other statistics highly reflect how much of an impact player he was to his team. For instance, he lost only 2 out of 29 postseason series matches. He was part of Boston’s run for eight straight championships too.
8. Then coach Red Auerbach retired before the end of 1966-67 season. After failing to convince several of his players to move up to coaching the franchise, he asked his center, Bill Russel. The latter accepted his role and became the first-ever African-American head coach in NBA history.