Legend: Bill Russell, the NBA’s greatest champion, died at 88

Bill Russellrecognized como una de las máximas legends de la NBA and the biggest winner of the best basketball league in the world, he died this Sunday, at 88 years old, according to su familia. Russell was the pillar of the incredible dynasty that the Boston Celtics built, with 11 titles in 13 seasons between 1956 and 1969, as well as a coach and fighter for civil rights, in a complex era marked by racism in the United States.

Russell, who was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, was named NBA Most Valuable Player 12 times and selected for the All-Star Game 12 times, as well as the captain of the American team that won Olympic gold in the Games. de Melbourne 1956. He was proclaimed in 1980 as the best player in NBA history, tras una votación de journalistis español. Even today, more than half a century after his last crown, Russell continues to be the greatest winner of this sport and a model of sacrifice, dedicated to defensive work to leave others in charge of scoring points. Hello benefició a Wilt Chamberlainthe figure of the Los Angeles Lakers and the only player from that same era who overshadowed Russell.

Las batallas en la court entre los dos pivotes fueron enormes, duelos por excellence en la NBA. Russell led the University of San Francisco to NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956. In Boston, he left an indelible mark as a black sportsman in the full era of segregation in that city and country, ya que marchó por los derechos junto a Martin Luther King Jr. In 2011, President Barack Obama conferred the Medal of Freedom on Russell. Two years ago, a statue of Russell was unveiled in the Plaza del Municipio de Boston.

The family indicated that Russell died accompanied by his wife, Jeannine. “La esposa de Bill, Jeannine, y sus muchos amigos y familiares quieren dar las gracias por tener a Bill en sus oraciones. “Perhaps they can relive some of the golden moments that he brought us, and he will remember his singular smile when he was delighted, explaining the real story of how these moments unfolded,” said the family. “`Y esperamos que cada uno de nosotros podrá encontrar una nueva forma de actuar o expresarse con el compromiso inflexible, digno y siempre constructive de Bill con los principios. Eso sería una ultima y duradera victoria para nuestro querido #6″. The Boston shirt with that number was retired three years after its retirement, in 1972.

The then president of the United States, Barack Obama, awarded the Medal of Freedom to Bill Russell in 2011
The then president of the United States, Barack Obama, awarded the Medal of Freedom to Bill Russell in 2011JIM WATSON – AFP

The commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, expressed in a communiqué that Russell was “the supreme champion in all sports for teams. Bill represented something much bigger than sports: the values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion that were imprinted in the ADN of our league. At the height of his sports career, he advocated with force for civil rights and social justice, a legacy that he transmitted to generations of NBA players who followed his footsteps. Soslayó las burlas, las amenazas y una adversidad impensable, y se mantuvo fiel a su creencia de que todos merecen ser tratados con dignidad”.

Bill Russell in action during a game between the Celtics and the Hawks in 1963.
Bill Russell in action during a game between the Celtics and the Hawks in 1963.Bettmann – Bettmann

The two last titles that Russell obtained, in 1968 and 1969, he also won as the first black coach in the history of the league. He was one of the first great activists in American sport. junto a figuras como Mohamed Ali o Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With a height of 2.08 meters, Russell played his entire career in the Celtics, with whom he contested 12 finals to win 11 titles. la major cifra also para un deportista de una gran liga profesional norteamericana.

Uno de los tantos homenajes a Bill Russell;  aquí, durante un partido entre Boston Celtics y Milwaukee Bucks, en 2013
Uno de los tantos homenajes a Bill Russell; aquí, durante un partido entre Boston Celtics y Milwaukee Bucks, en 2013Michael Dwyer – AP

Among many other recognitions, The NBA gives its name to the MVP trophy that awards each year to the best player in the Finals. Other legends and players of the NBA sent their condolences to one of the league’s great icons. “It broke my heart to hear the news of the passing of the greatest basketball player, a legend, member of the Hall of Fame, mentor and friend of mine for over 30 years, Bill Russell,” wrote Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. “Descansa en paz. Gracias por allanar el camino e inspirar a tantos. Today is a sad day, but also a great day to celebrate his legacy and what he represents,” said Jaylen Brown, one of the current figures of the Celtics, and one of the first players who marched in the great protests against racism. 2020 en Estados Unidos.

Con información de AP y AFP

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