NBA Champion and Bay Area icon Bill Russel have passed away, according to a tweet posted on Russel’s Twitter account.
Russel grew up in the Bay Area and attended McClymonds High School in Oakland. He had a successful high school basketball career, won 2 NCAA championships with the University of San Francisco, and became the captain of a gold-medal-winning Olympic basketball team.
He won 11 NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics in his professional basketball career. After his success and achievements, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award was renamed in his honor in 2009.
He became the first Black head coach of any North American professional sports team and had 2 more NBA Championships titles as a coach.
Aside from his professional accomplishments, Russel was also known for his activism. In 1969, he boycotted an exhibition game to highlight discrimination.
In 2010, Russel was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President Barack Obama for his role in the civil rights moments and basketball success.