Bill Russell: 10 numbers to shed light on an extraordinary career


Bill Russell: 10 numbers to shed light on an extraordinary career
Written by madishthestylebar

A whole night has passed, but the pain is still present when we wake up this morning. No, it’s not a bad dream: Bill Russell died this Sunday, July 31, 2022, peacefully, alongside his wife Jeannine. The NBA has lost one of its greatest players. A champion, an ambassador, a fighter… quite simply, a role model. His life will have marked ours in many ways, forever. This is why we said to ourselves that the one who for nearly six decades panicked the counters deserved well that we reconsider his career in ten figures. Come on, the heart is heavy but no question of losing the smile.


As he arrives from the NCAA where his roundup of titles has already begun, Bill Russell will not be selected either in first position or by the Celtics. And yes, during this 1956 Draft, it is Sihugo “Si” Green who will become the first pick, chosen by the Rochester Royals. Bilou is therefore selected in second position by the St-Louis Hawks… who will transfer him to Boston against Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. There, we really begin to believe that there was a contest that year to find out who was capable of making the worst choices. Eager to integrate Russell into his workforce for his defensive abilities, which was totally innovative at the time, Red Auerbach is very happy to welcome the pivot. During this same Draft, the Celtics will also select two other Hall of Famers: KC Jones and John Heinsohn. Here’s how with a little madness and ambition, but especially drunken opponents on Draft night, we create the most successful dynasty of all time.


To Truth be told, this number does not correspond to an average, but rather two. Read instead. While he spent thirteen seasons as a player in the NBA, Bill Russell never averaged more than 19 points. His best scoring campaign? The 1961-62 fiscal year, where he finished at 18.9 points. So yes, it’s already not bad, but the most novice among you might think that it’s not enough for someone who is considered one of the greatest players of all time. Wait, it’s not over. To Conversely, Bill the Hill will only achieve one season below 19… average rebounds. Ah no no no need to reload the page, you read very well. His little shot less well? The 1967-1968 campaign, where, at 33, he swallowed only 18.6 missed shots per game. Lol. On a more serious note, the stat is insane, because a small rebound game from the forecastle would be a masterclass every night in the current NBA. And to think that Andre Drummond considers himself the best rebounder of all time… Even up there, you can still hear Bilou laughing about it.


Good, quits to talk about rebounds, as much to go to the end of things. So no, once again it is important to specify: 21,620 is not the number of points scored by Russell in his career, but rather the number of rebounds which he captured in total in thirteen years. So yes, his great rival Wilt Chamberlain nabbed even more (23,924), well wow what. We’re still talking about a guy who took more rebounds than Tony Parker, Isiah Thomas or even George Gervin each scored points. Even Larry Bird came close to being behind with “only” 21,791 points. No, you know what, we’ll do it again. Of the 4,711 players who have set foot on an NBA floor to date, 4,675 have scored fewer points than Bill Russell has grabbed rebounds, or about 99.2%. Are we really able to imagine what these numbers mean? Especially since the guy achieved all this in just thirteen seasons. It’s simple, in the top 10 of the biggest rebounders in history, he is the only one to have never exceeded the bar of 1,000 games played (963). mad respect Russian.


Known and recognized for the number of titles he won during his career, and on which we will of course come back, Bill Russell has another record of eleven units that will be very difficult to get. LeBron is very strong in win or go home games? Certainly, but here is the master of the exercise: with the Celtics, the pivot won ten game 7 out of ten and one game 5 out of one. Either a nice 11/11 in the end of the Playoffs series. We could already say that the performance is crazy, but if we decide to add to that the matches in university and the Olympic Games, we arrive at a total of 21/21 in matches with similar stakes. Basically, every opponent who faced Bilou in a final fight lost. Pressure ? It is to wonder if this term existed at the time of Whiskers, which was obviously not too much affected by the latter. We are therefore waiting to see who will be the first to equal these eleven victories, not to mention achieving a 100%. Our little finger tells us that it may take a long time, even a very long time.


If we ask you what is the first thing you think of when someone says “Bill Russell”, you will certainly be a bunch to answer us “eleven championship titles”. Here, we therefore wanted to see even wider, because The Stuffer is not just a huge NBA champion. In addition to his eleven rings in the Big League with Boston (a record that will probably never be equaled), the guy also won two NCAA titles with the San Francisco Dons and an Olympic title with Team USA when he was still a university. This therefore gives us a total of fourteen titles on the counter. Does indecency have limits? We could also have told you about the fact that Billou’s Celtics have climbed to the top of the Playoffs eight times in a row, or that the latter has won the last two titles of this crazy series as a player AND coach of the team. , but we think that either you already know all these figures, or you are overwhelmed by so many greatness. It’s very simple: it is almost certain that we will never see that again. And on the one hand so much the better, because the suspense is good too.


How can you imagine writing an article entitled “Bill Russell in ten figures” without including… his own number? Because Bill Russell’s jersey has not only marked an entire generation of basketball players, it is an untouchable relic that will continue to cross the history of the NBA, even now that it is no longer there. Two teams have also decided to remove the flocked tunic with the name “Russell” followed by a “6”. The Boston Celtics even retired him…twice. A first time in 1972 during a ceremony in which Bilou did not want to participate because of his fight for blacks. A second time in 1999, where the legend was present alongside Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird or even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Number 6 was also retired by the San Francisco Dons, where Russell played from 1953 to 1956 in the NCAA. Hardly surprising when you consider how much the pivot dominated his contemporaries, bringing home the only two championships in college history. What a man.


Among the multitude of stories, moments or anecdotes concerning the fight of Bill Russell for the African-American community, there is a number which is particularly revealing of the strength of character of the gentleman. Indeed, like all those before and after him, Russ was to receive a ring on the occasion of his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1975. However, it will be necessary to wait 44 years before the latter receives it. The reason ? Bilou simply refused such an honor. It was inconceivable for him to be the first black player to join this temple of basketball, and waited for the right moment to accept it. It was therefore on the occasion of the induction in 2019 of Chuck Cooper, the first black player to have been drafted in 1950, that the former pivot of the C’s resolved to finally organize a private ceremony to receive his bagouze l peace of mind, the same year. A gesture that is certainly symbolic, but that says a lot about the character, whose conviction commands respect.


Even if it means staying in the theme of the “Hall of Fame”, you might as well reveal all those of whom Bill Russell is a part. Not one, two or three, but four! Once again, the guy manages to do several times what some would dream of achieving even once. Well, you have understood it, in 1975 the interior integrates the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the best known, which brings together the greatest legends of our sport, and in particular of the NBA. In 2006, for his college career, he was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class alongside James Naismith, Oscar Robertson, Dean Smith and John Wooden. In pretty good company. The following year, it was the turn of the FIBA ​​Hall of Fame, created in 1991, to include him in the newly built museum as a member of the “founding class”. Finally, last year, the latter was again integrated into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but this time as a coach, since he was the first black coach in NBA history. We almost want to tell you that we are not surprised, even if it’s completely crazy…


Yes, so there we may have departed from the rule a bit since there is not just one number but rather four. Maybe some of you have even guessed what these were referring to… These are the “anniversary” NBA teams of which Mister Russell was a part. We could have written “all” instead of all these numbers since, by definition, Bilou has always been included. In 1971, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Grand League, Whiskers was already there, having retired two years earlier. Bis repeated in 1980 on the occasion of 35 years. In the very famous list of the 50 greatest players of all time unveiled in 1996? Obviously, the pivot is a no-brainer. And when, this season, the 75th in the NBA, a new list of 75 names is revealed, Bill Russell is there. However, if he could not physically move to the ceremony organized, the latter is nevertheless the first name to be announced among the pivots. The symbol is very strong for the one who was a pioneer from every point of view and paved the way for many legends.


As you may have noticed, the numbers in this article have been announced chronologically, or at least approximately. It is therefore quite normal to close this paper on the number 88, the age at which Bill Russell died. His career, his fights, his life, were beyond breathtaking. More than a source of inspiration, the pivot was a model on the sporting level, but also human. Although it is important to pay tribute to him, a thousand stories would not be enough to describe the legacy he leaves behind. Without Bill Russell, there might never have been Shaquille O’Neal’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. by Javale McGee and many others. Faced with such a legend, we can only bow down. His smile will no longer accompany us, but his joie de vivre and his strength will continue to animate the world of the orange ball for eternity. And we can’t help but imagine him up there, reuniting with some of his former Celtics and Wilt teammates, for yet another daunting remake of the best of the 60s. In the end, he didn’t leave us, he just left a little further.

Bon voyage Bill, we miss you already. A legendary career, which will forever remain as one of those that opened the doors to many things in the history of the league.

Sources: ESPN,, Hall of Fame.

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