The first African-American professional coach in any sport, Bill Russell has lived a lifetime of achievements. Few individuals are admired for their integrity, compassion, intellect and wisdom on and off their court as much as he is.
In 21 years of playing basketball, Russell led his team to an unprecedented 18 championships. He led the Boston Celtics to an extraordinary record of 11 world championships in13 years and eight NBA championships in a row. His high school team won three championships, and he led the University of San Francisco to a divisional championship and two national championships, winning 55 straight games. In 1956, Russell proudly captained the U.S. Olympic basketball team to a gold medal.
Bill Russell has been recognized by HBO Sports as the" greatest winner of the 20th century." Sports Illustrated deemed him the "greatest team player on the greatest team of all time." Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden called him "the most important player ever in either the collegiate or professional ranks."
Russell was also the author of two award-winning bestsellers: Go Up For Glory and Second Wind. His newest book, Russell Rules...11 Lessons in Leadership From the Greatest Winner of the Twentieth Century, was released in May.
A sought-after mentor, Russell is active on the Board of Directors of the National Mentoring Partnership. He is an aggressive advocate for civil rights, equality and diversity.
NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from October 18, 2001.
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