A whole night has passed, but the pain is still there when we wake up this morning. No, it wasn’t a bad dream: Bill Russell died this Sunday, July 31, 2022, peacefully, with his wife Jeannine by his side. The NBA has lost one of its greatest players. A champion, an ambassador, a warrior… quite simply, a role model. His life will mark ours in many ways, forever. This is why we have said to ourselves that someone who has been panicking at counters for almost six decades deserves to reconsider his ten-figure career. Well, the heart is heavy but there is no question that the smile will disappear.
When he arrived from the NCAA where his roundup of titles had already begun, Bill Russell could not be selected in the first position or the Celtics. And yes, in this 1956 Draft, Sihugo “Si” Green would be the first pick, selected by the Rochester Royals. So Bilou was selected to the second position by the St-Louis Hawks… which would move him to Boston against Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. There, we really started to believe there was going to be a competition that year to see who could make the worst choices. Eager to integrate Russell into his workforce for his defensive abilities, which were completely new at the time, Red Auerbach was more than happy to welcome the pivot. During this same Draft, the Celtics will also select two other Hall of Famers: KC Jones and John Heinsohn. Here’s how with a little insanity and ambition, but mostly drunk opponents on Draft night, we created the most successful dynasty of all time.
on True, this number is not equal to the average, but two. Read instead. While he spent thirteen seasons as an NBA player, Bill Russell never averaged more than 19 points. His best scoring campaign? The 1961-62 fiscal year, where he finished with 18.9 points. So yeah, it’s not that bad, but the fresher among you might think it’s not enough for someone who is considered one of the greatest players of all time. Wait, it’s not over yet. on On the other hand, Bill the Hill could only achieve one season below 19… average rebounds. Ah no, no need to reload the page, you are reading very well. His little shot isn’t very good? The 1967-1968 campaign, where, at the age of 33, he swallowed only 18.6 missed shots per game. lol On a more serious note, the statistics are crazy, because a little rebound game from the forecastle can be a masterclass every night in today’s NBA. And to think that Andre Drummond considers himself the best rebounder of all time… Even there, you can hear Bilou laughing about it.
well, quit to talk about rebounds, as many go to the end of things. So no, once again it is important to specify: 21,620 is not the number of points Russell scored in his career, but the number of rebounds which he held captive for a total of thirteen years. So yes, his great rival Wilt Chamberlain got more (23,924), wow what. We’re still talking about a guy who grabbed more rebounds than Tony Parker, Isiah Thomas or even George Gervin each scored. Even Larry Bird came close with “only” 21,791 points. No, you know what, let’s do it again. Of the 4,711 players who have stepped on the NBA floor to date, 4,675 have scored fewer points than Bill Russell has had rebounds, or about 99.2%. Can we really imagine what these numbers mean? Especially since the man achieved all this in just thirteen seasons. Simply, in the top 10 of the greatest rebounders in history, he is the only one who did not break the bar of 1,000 games played (963). mad respect Russian.
Known and recognized for the number of titles he won during his career, and to which we will of course return, Bill Russell has another record of eleven units that is very difficult to obtain. Is LeBron very strong in win or go home games? True, but here’s the gist of the exercise: with the Celtics, the pivot won ten games 7 of eleven games 5 of one. Even a nice 11/11 at the end of the Playoffs series. We can already say that the performance is crazy, but if we decide to add to that the university games and the Olympic Games, we arrive at a total of 21/21 in games with similar stakes. Basically, every opponent who faced Bilou in a final fight lost. Pressure? Wonder if this term existed during the Whiskers era, which obviously wasn’t much affected by the latter. So we are waiting to see who will be the first to match these eleven victories, not to mention reach a 100%. Our little finger tells us that it will be long, even a long time.
If you are asked what is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says “Bill Russell”, surely a team will answer us “eleven championship titles”. Here, we want to see more broadly, because The Stuffer is not just a big NBA champion. In addition to his eleven Big League rings with Boston (a record that may never be matched), the man also won two NCAA titles with the San Francisco Dons and an Olympic title with Team USA. when he was in university. So this gives us a total of fourteen counter titles. Is there a limit to obscenity? We can also tell you the fact that Billou’s Celtics have reached the top of the Playoffs eight times in a row, or that the latter won the last two titles in this crazy series as a player AND coach of the team. , but we assume that you already know all these numbers, or you are overwhelmed by many dignity. It’s very simple: it’s almost certain that we’ll never see it again. And partly better, because the suspense is also good.
How can you imagine writing an article entitled “Bill Russell in ten figures” without including… his own number? Because Bill Russell’s jersey not only marked an entire generation of basketball players, it is an untouchable relic that will continue to cross the NBA’s history, even now that it is gone. Two teams also decided to remove the flocked tunic with the name “Russell” followed by a “6”. The Boston Celtics even retired him…twice. The first time was in 1972 during a ceremony where Bilou did not want to participate because of his fight for the blacks. Second time in 1999, where the legend was with Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird or even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The number 6 was also retired by the San Francisco Dons, where Russell played from 1953 to 1956 in the NCAA. It’s not surprising when you consider how much the pivot dominated his contemporaries, bringing home the only two championships in college history. What a man.
Among the many stories, moments or anecdotes about Bill Russell’s fight for the African-American community, there is one figure that particularly reveals the strength of the gentleman’s character. In fact, like all before and after him, Russ would receive a ring on the occasion of his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1975. However, it would be necessary to wait 44 years before receiving it later. The reason? Bilou simply refused the honor. It is inconceivable that he was the first black player to join this temple of basketball, and was waiting for the right moment to receive it. So on the occasion of the induction in 2019 of Chuck Cooper, the first black player drafted in 1950, that the former pivot of the C’s decided to finally organize a private ceremony to receive his bagouze l peace of mind, the same year. A gesture that is certainly symbolic, but says a lot about the character, whose conviction commands respect.
Even if it means sticking to the “Hall of Fame” theme, you can reveal all the sides of who Bill Russell is. Not one, two or three, but four! Again, the man has managed to do many times what others only dream of achieving at least once. Well, you got it, in 1975 the interior combined the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the most known, which brings together the greatest legends of our game, and especially of the NBA. In 2006, for his college career, he was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class along with James Naismith, Oscar Robertson, Dean Smith and John Wooden. In relatively good company. The following year, it was the turn of the FIBA Hall of Fame, which was created in 1991, to include him in the newly built museum as a member of the “founding class”. Finally, last year, the latter was again integrated into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but this time as a coach, because he was the first black coach in the history of the NBA. We almost want to tell you that we are not surprised, even if it is completely crazy …
Yes, that’s where we may have deviated from the rule because there is not only one number but four. Some of you may have already guessed what this means… These are the “anniversary” NBA teams that Mister Russell has been a part of. We can write “all” instead of all these numbers since, by definition, Bilou is always included. In 1971, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Grand League, Whiskers was already there, having retired two years later. Bis repeated in 1980 on the occasion of 35 years. In the infamous list of the 50 greatest players of all time that was unveiled in 1996? Obviously, the pivot is a no-brainer. And if, this season, the 75th in the NBA, a new list of 75 names is revealed, Bill Russell is there. However, if he cannot physically move to the ceremony being organized, the latter will be the first name to be announced by the pivots. The symbol is very strong for a pioneer from every point of view and paves the way for many legends.
As you may have noticed, the numbers in this article are presented chronologically, or at least approximately. So it’s only natural to end this paper with the number 88, the age at which Bill Russell died. His career, his fights, his life, are nothing short of amazing. More than a source of inspiration, the pivot is a model at the level of sport, but also of man. Although it is important to pay tribute to him, a thousand stories are not enough to describe the legacy he left behind. Without Bill Russell, there would be no Kareem Abdul-Jabbar by Shaquille O’Neal.
by Javale McGee and so on. In the face of such a legend, we can only bow. His smile will no longer be with us, but his joie de vivre and his energy will continue to enliven the orange ball world forever. And we can’t help but imagine him there, reuniting with some of his former Celtics teammates and Wilt, for yet another terrific remake of the best of the 60s. In the end, he never left us, he just left a little more.
Bon voyage Bill, we miss you. A legendary career, which will remain forever as one that opened the doors to many things in the history of the league.
Sources: ESPN, realgm.com, Hall of Fame.