NBA Legend Bill Russell, one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the sport has passed away at the age of 88.
The Boston Celtics legend passed away "peacefully" alongside his wife Jeannine according to a statement written on social media announcing the tragic passing.
"Bill's wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you'll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded. And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill's uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6," part of the statement read.
Russell's accolades cannot be overstated. He won the MVP award five times, and is a 12-time All-Star. Yet, his is best known as a champion as he holds 11 championships with the Celtics, which included eight in a row. He also finished with 21,620 career rebounds, a crazy average of 22.5 per game finishing second all -time. The NBA in 2009 renamed the NBA MVP trophy after the legend. He is also the first Black man to coach an NBA and in one of the major sports in 1966.
As big of a man he was on the court, he was just as important off the court being involved in issues of racism, especially in the difficult times of the late 1950's and 1960's. He was present at the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famed "I Have A Dream" speech, and also was a big supporter of Muhammad Ali in 1967 after the boxer's refusal to attend the military after being drafted. President Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.