American Legend Bill Russell Turns 80

CELTIC GIANT TURNS 80

Defending Against Father Time As Well as He Did Against Chamberlain

Wikipedia describes Bill Russell as “one of the most successful and decorated athletes in North American sports history.  “   It has been 45 years since Bill Russell last played basketball and yet many of his records still stand.  He was simply that dominant.  His accomplishments include:

  • NCAA Champion
  • Captain of the Olympic Gold Medal team at the Melbourne Olympics
  • 11-time NBA Champion
  • 5-time NBA MVP
  • Hall of Famer and named one of the 50 greatest NBA players
  • the first African-American Professional Coach in US history and
  • a Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner.

From Wikipedia:

Bill Russell i. . . .is credited with having raised defensive play in the NBA to a new level. By winning the 1956 NCAA Championship with USF and the 1957 NBA title with the Celtics, Russell became the first of only four players in basketball history to win an NCAA championship and an NBA Championship back-to-back (the others being Henry BibbyMagic Johnson, and Billy Thompson). In the interim, Russell collected an Olympic gold medal in 1956. His stint as coach of the Celtics was also of historical significance, as he became the first black head coach in major U.S. professional sports when he succeeded Red Auerbach.

Russell was and remains the most dominant defensive player in NBA history and it is fitting that he matched up against Wilt Chamberlain the most or at second-most dominant offensive player in NBA history. They did not keep block shot statistics until after Russell retired, but even the rebounding numbers are overwhelming – aside from Chamberlain nobody even comes close.

ReboundsSingle Game Career Rebounds Career Rebounds PG ReboundsSingle GameNBA Finals Career ReboundsPlayoffs Career ReboundsPG Playoffs
#1 55 – Wilt Chamberlain  Wilt Chamberlain 23,924 (14 seasons)  Wilt Chamberlain – 22.89 40 – Bill Russell Bill Russell – 4104  Bill Russell – 24.87
#2 51 – Bill Russell  Bill Russell 21,620 (13 seasons)  Bill Russell – 22.5 40 – Bill Russell Wilt Chamberlain – 3913  Wilt Chamberlain -24.46
#3 49 – Bill Russell  Moses Malone – 17,834 (20 seasons)*  Bob Pettit – 16.22 38- Bill Russell (twice) Tim Duncan – 2522 (16 seasons)  Wes Unseld – 14.93
#4 49 – Bill Russell  Kareem Abdul Jabarr -17,440 (20 seasons)  Jerry Lucas – 15.61 38 – Wilt Chamberlain (twice) Shaquille O’Neal – 2508  Bob Pettit -14.82

*Includes ABA seasons.

Russell also holds the record for most rebounds in a quarter at 19, which he set in a 1962 Game 7 matchup against the Lakers in which he would go on to score 30 points and claim 40 rebounds in winning their 4th of eight straight championships.   The most important record held by Russell is in NBA Championships – 11.  Russell was known as one of the most clutch players in the NBA. He played in 11 deciding games (10 times in Game 7s, once in a Game 5), and ended with a flawless 11–0 record. In these eleven games, Russell averaged 18 points and 29.45 rebounds.

Only one other athlete in North American sports history has won as many championships and that is Maurice Ricard with the Montreal Canadians.

*****


STATS – REGULAR SEASON

Season Age Tm Lg Pos G MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST PTS
1956-57 22 BOS NBA C 48 1695 277 649 .427 277 649 .427 152 309 .492 943 88 706
1957-58 ★ 23 BOS NBA C 69 2640 456 1032 .442 456 1032 .442 230 443 .519 1564 202 1142
1958-59 ★ 24 BOS NBA C 70 2979 456 997 .457 456 997 .457 256 428 .598 1612 222 1168
1959-60 ★ 25 BOS NBA C 74 3146 555 1189 .467 555 1189 .467 240 392 .612 1778 277 1350
1960-61 ★ 26 BOS NBA C 78 3458 532 1250 .426 532 1250 .426 258 469 .550 1868 268 1322
1961-62 ★ 27 BOS NBA C 76 3433 575 1258 .457 575 1258 .457 286 481 .595 1790 341 1436
1962-63 ★ 28 BOS NBA C 78 3500 511 1182 .432 511 1182 .432 287 517 .555 1843 348 1309
1963-64 ★ 29 BOS NBA C 78 3482 466 1077 .433 466 1077 .433 236 429 .550 1930 370 1168
1964-65 ★ 30 BOS NBA C 78 3466 429 980 .438 429 980 .438 244 426 .573 1878 410 1102
1965-66 ★ 31 BOS NBA C 78 3386 391 943 .415 391 943 .415 223 405 .551 1779 371 1005
1966-67 ★ 32 BOS NBA C 81 3297 395 870 .454 395 870 .454 285 467 .610 1700 472 1075
1967-68 ★ 33 BOS NBA C 78 2953 365 858 .425 365 858 .425 247 460 .537 1451 357 977
1968-69 ★ 34 BOS NBA C 77 3291 279 645 .433 279 645 .433 204 388 .526 1484 374 762
Career NBA 963 40726 5687 12930 .440 5687 12930 .440 3148 5614 .561 21620 4100 14522

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 2/11/2014.

STATS – PLAYOFFS

Season Age Tm Pos MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST PTS
1956-57 22 BOS C 35.3 5.8 13.5 .427 5.8 13.5 .427 3.2 6.4 .492 19.6 1.8 14.7
1957-58 ★ 23 BOS C 38.3 6.6 15.0 .442 6.6 15.0 .442 3.3 6.4 .519 22.7 2.9 16.6
1958-59 ★ 24 BOS C 42.6 6.5 14.2 .457 6.5 14.2 .457 3.7 6.1 .598 23.0 3.2 16.7
1959-60 ★ 25 BOS C 42.5 7.5 16.1 .467 7.5 16.1 .467 3.2 5.3 .612 24.0 3.7 18.2
1960-61 ★ 26 BOS C 44.3 6.8 16.0 .426 6.8 16.0 .426 3.3 6.0 .550 23.9 3.4 16.9
1961-62 ★ 27 BOS C 45.2 7.6 16.6 .457 7.6 16.6 .457 3.8 6.3 .595 23.6 4.5 18.9
1962-63 ★ 28 BOS C 44.9 6.6 15.2 .432 6.6 15.2 .432 3.7 6.6 .555 23.6 4.5 16.8
1963-64 ★ 29 BOS C 44.6 6.0 13.8 .433 6.0 13.8 .433 3.0 5.5 .550 24.7 4.7 15.0
1964-65 ★ 30 BOS C 44.4 5.5 12.6 .438 5.5 12.6 .438 3.1 5.5 .573 24.1 5.3 14.1
1965-66 ★ 31 BOS C 43.4 5.0 12.1 .415 5.0 12.1 .415 2.9 5.2 .551 22.8 4.8 12.9
1966-67 ★ 32 BOS C 40.7 4.9 10.7 .454 4.9 10.7 .454 3.5 5.8 .610 21.0 5.8 13.3
1967-68 ★ 33 BOS C 37.9 4.7 11.0 .425 4.7 11.0 .425 3.2 5.9 .537 18.6 4.6 12.5
1968-69 ★ 34 BOS C 42.7 3.6 8.4 .433 3.6 8.4 .433 2.6 5.0 .526 19.3 4.9 9.9
Career 42.3 5.9 13.4 .440 5.9 13.4 .440 3.3 5.8 .561 22.5 4.3 15.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 2/11/2014.

COACHING RECORD

COACHING Regular Season Playoffs
Season Age Lg Tm G W L W-L% W > .500 Finish G W L W-L% Notes
1966-67 32 NBA BOS 81 60 21 .741 19.5 2 9 4 5 .444
1967-68 33 NBA BOS 82 54 28 .659 13.0 2 19 12 7 .632 NBA Champions
1968-69 34 NBA BOS 82 48 34 .585 7.0 4 18 12 6 .667 NBA Champions
1973-74 39 NBA SEA 82 36 46 .439 -5.0 3
1974-75 40 NBA SEA 82 43 39 .524 2.0 2 9 4 5 .444
1975-76 41 NBA SEA 82 43 39 .524 2.0 2 6 2 4 .333
1976-77 42 NBA SEA 82 40 42 .488 -1.0 4
1987-88 53 NBA SAC 58 17 41 .293 -12.0 6
Career NBA 631 341 290 .540 25.5 61 34 27 .557
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table Generated 2/11/2014.
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