Bill Russell, NBA legend and Boston Celtics great, dies at 88

Bill Russell, the ultimate NBA champion, one of basketball’s greatest players, a consummate teammate and a voice for social justice who was the soul of the Boston Celtics dynasty of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Sunday. He was 88.

On the basketball court, William Felton Russell cared about one thing: winning. And he did whatever necessary to accomplish that, from scoring to rebounding to passing to defending.

Russell won better than anyone. He had 11 championships with the Celtics, including eight consecutive titles. There was not a Finals MVP until 1969. Today, the Finals MVP award is named after him.

“I played a team game and the only important statistic was who won the game,” Russell said in 2014 at the unveiling of his statue at Boston’s City Hall. “So, I would always thank my teammates for letting me help them be champions. There are some things I’m proud of. 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.

“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.”

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His death was announced on his Twitter account, saying he “passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side.”

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