Bill Russell Says Decision to Erect a Statue of Him ‘Happening at the Right Time’

Bill Russell is undoubtedly one of the biggest legends of Boston's rich sports history, so it wasn't much of a surprise when it was decided that a statue of the 11-time NBA champion would be erected in the city.

Russell spoke publicly about the announcement for the first time on Tuesday, saying that the honor is happening at the right time and not overdue, like some have suggested, according to

The five-time NBA MVP also joked about the honor.

"It makes me feel uneasy because it seems almost like a tombstone, and I don't want to engrave my tombstone yet," he said.

Russell’s daughter, Karen, Mayor Tom Menino, Celtics managing partner Steve Pagliuca and former Celtics player and coach Tommy Heinsohn were among those in attendance at Fenway Park as Russell spoke on Tuesday.

"A very difficult time in our city's history and Russell proved that he was his own person, which was very difficult to do in those days," said Heinsohn. "And he stood tall and he represented a great organization. Through him it taught the city teamwork and how people could get along."

Russell, in town to accept a lifetime achievement award from the Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP), said that he never felt like he was putting up with anything while playing in Boston, though.

"I was having the time of my life. The city of Boston was … interesting," he said.

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