In wit and wisdom, Russell left an impression with his gravelly voice. “It wasn’t like he tried to impress you with big words,” said one recipient of his advice.
When getting hired as a Black coach seemed “far-fetched,” as one coach said, Russell showed that it could be done — and that it could lead to championships.
A Hall of Fame center whose former coach, Red Auerbach, called “the single most devastating force in the history of the game.”
A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he was named one of the 50 greatest players in N.B.A. history and played on 10 N.B.A. championship teams.
As a defense-minded guard, he played on eight consecutive championship teams. He later found success leading the team from the sidelines.