Celtics Honor Legend Bill Russell For Civil Rights Activism During Career

Bill Russell was a pioneer for Black people in professional sports, on and off the court

by Alexandra Francisco

September 3, 2020

Players around the NBA have used their platform and the playoffs as a vehicle to impact change, with a number of last week’s games being postponed to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality after teams decided to sit out of the competition.

But before the 2019-20 player protests, there was Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who changed the game for players in the league to also become activists.

The Hall of Famer was among the first all-Black starting lineup in the NBA with the Celtics in 1963. And later became the first Black head coach in all of professional sports when he took over the reigns in Boston in 1966.

And by leading an NBA boycott in 1961, Russell paved the way for athletes to speak out about what is important to them.

Russell was moved by recent protests around the league, all made possibly by his courage once upon a time. So the Celtics on Thursday thanked him for opening the door for them with a series of videos.

Check them out below:

Thumbnail photo via Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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