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NBA legend Bill Russell passes away at age 88

The Hall of Famer was responsible for the first NBA dynasty with the Celtics in the 50s and 60s.

Basketball Hall of Fame member Bill Russell waves as he is introduced at a game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Las Vegas Aces at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 21, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Aces defeated the Lynx 79-74. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

NBA and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell passed away at age 88 on Sunday afternoon. Russell was a dominant center in the early days of the league, leading the first Celtics dynasty with 11 championships through the late 1950s and 1960s. Russell was a player-coach for the final two championships in Boston. He was a five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star during his career, and is considered among the greatest players of all time.

The NBA honored Russell’s championship DNA by renaming the Finals MVP trophy to the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award. As noted in the release above, Russell’s on-court contributions were only part of his greatness. He was at the forefront of activism during his time, and was eventually given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. We’ll likely see some sort of formal celebration of Russell’s contributions ahead of the 2022-23 regular season.