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Published On: Thu, Feb 12th, 2015

NBA Legend Bill Russell shares birthday with Lorne Greene, Abraham Lincoln

Bill Russell, the legendary center for the Boston Celtics, celebrates a birthday alongside of other greats in their respective fields: US President Abraham Lincoln and actor Lorne Greene.

Russell was a dominating force in the late 50’s and 1960s, being named the league’s MVP five times and played in 12 All-Star games during his career.

Russell was born on this day(in 1934) in Monroe, Louisiana. During his 13-year career with the Celtics, Russell helped the team to 11 NBA championships.

After playing center at McClymonds High School in Oakland, California, Russell earned an athletic scholarship to the University of San Francisco. There, he became known for his strong defense and shot-blocking skills and helped lead the team to two NCAA championships, in 1955 and 1956.

Russell experienced racial abuse from spectators and others during his playing career and led the U.S. basketball team that won gold by defeating the Soviet Union at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Bill Russell

Bill Russell

Following the Olympics, the 6’9” Russell joined the Boston Celtics in December 1956. The Celtics had never won an NBA championship.

The team captured their first title in 1957 under the direction of coach Red Auerbach, and Russell and the Celtics were on their way to becoming a basketball dynasty.

His biggest rival was 7’1” center Wilt Chamberlain, who joined the NBA in 1959. Russell’s career record of 21,620 rebounds was bested only by Chamberlain’s 23,924 rebounds.

When Red Auerbach retired before the 1966-67 season, Russell was named player-coach, making him the first black head coach in all of American professional sports.

In the final two seasons of his career, 1967-68 and 1968-69, Russell won his 10th and 11th NBA championships with the Celtics. After ending his career as a player, Russell coached the Seattle SuperSonics (1973-1979) and Sacramento Kings (1988-1989), wrote books and worked as a sports commentator.

Russell’s Number 6 Celtics jersey number was retired in 1972 and he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975.

Continue reading: Abraham Lincoln, Lorne Greene

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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