Wizards, D.C. basketball greats pay tribute to late Bill Russell

Wizards pay tribute to late Bill Russell originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The sports world lost one of the greatest athletes in American sports history Sunday when Bill Russell passed away at the age of 88. 

Shortly after the news of his passing broke, tributes poured in across the basketball world. As an 11-time NBA champion with the Celtics, two-time NCAA champion, five-time NBA MVP and civil rights activist during the 1960s, Russell’s impact reached far beyond Boston. 

Current and former Washington Wizards players as well as D.C. basketball icons were not excluded from the outpouring of support for Russell on social media. Georgetown basketball legend Patrick Ewing and former Bullets guard Phil Chenier highlighted those who shared kind words online. 

Throughout his playing career, Russell helped lead the Celtics to 11 championships in a 13-year span, including eight in a row from 1959-66. He became the first Black coach in North American sports in 1966, when the Celtics named his player-coach. In 1969, he became the first Black coach to win a championship. 

Russell played in 21 winner-take-all games games during his basketball career, from college, to the Olympics and then the NBA. His teams went 21-0 in those games. Russell went 10-0 in Game 7s in the NBA.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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