Bill Russell: The Man Who Also Played Basketball

Bill Russell (6) Boston Celtics, goes up against defense Charlie Share (70), St. Louis Hawks, to score a basket in first period of their National Basketball Association game at Boston Garden, Ma., Feb. 21, 1951. Behind Russell is Hawks' Ed Macauley (50). Boston won 125-112 in second game of double header. (AP Photo)The Bill Russell statue is unveiled outside Cit Hall Plaza Nov. 1, 2013. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Celtics managing partner Stephen Pagliuca, and Bill Russell watch as Bill Russell Legacy Committee member Bobby Sager unveils the Bill Russell statue on City Hall Plaza. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The focus has been on the Red Sox recently, but another Boston sports champion is being honored today: A statue of Celtics great Bill Russell was unveiled this afternoon at City Hall plaza.

Even in this city accustomed to its champion athletes, it’s hard to describe how large the six foot, nine and a-half-inch, Bill Russell looms over the game of basketball. He was a dominant player, as well as a player-coach. During his 13 year career, from 1956 until 1969, the team won 11 NBA Titles.

They won an astonishing eight championships in a row, with Bill Russell at the center of it. He is one of the best to even play the game, yet never called himself a basketball player.


Karen Russell, daughter of Bill Russell, she’s an attorney and writer.

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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

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