Bill Russell tragically passed away at age 88 this Sunday, his family announced on social media. The Boston Celtics legend was the biggest winner in NBA history, collecting 11 rings as a player in 13 seasons. He added more as a head coach, making history in the process.
Russell was a pioneer in many aspects for modern-day players, and even though not a lot of them saw him play, they had nothing but respect for the former center. He had memorable duels with Wilt Chamberlain on the court on his way to winning more than 10 rings, cementing a huge legacy.
Off the court, Russell was as relentless as he was with the ball in his hands, always trying to make things better for those who didn't have his voice or his impact on the world. He was a leader when it came to social justice matters, transcending the game of basketball and becoming an activist, even when he was an active player.
That's why he's held in such high regard by those who came after him, as many players reacted to the terrible news of his death, sending messages on social media to show their love and respect for the legendary center. Current and former players, media members, and even NBA owners reacted to this news, demonstrating that Russell was incredibly beloved around the league.
It was shocking to learn about this, more so knowing that Bill was such a great person who didn't hesitate to make others laugh. He was a giant, a huge legend of the game, whose impact on the same will never be erased. He lived a full life, with ups and downs, but earned respect and admiration he deserved for going against the status quo to defend his people and make things better for them. Rest in peace, Bill.