Bill Russell won a record 11 NBA championship titles during his 13-year career with the Boston Celtics and later became the league's first black head coach.

2013 W.E.B. Du Bois Medal Ceremony

The W.E.B. Du Bois medal was presented by Bill Russell.

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Russell passed away with his wife Jeannine by his side, but his family did not give a cause of death.

After playing for the Boston Celtics, Russell won the NBA Championship 11 times and was named the league's most Valuable Player five times.

He clashed with Boston sports fans due to his support of civil rights and social justice.

He was the head coach of the Celtics for the last three years of his playing career and the SuperSonics for the last two.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Russell the greatest champion in all of team sports and said that he stood for something much bigger than sports.

USA - Politics - President Obama Awards Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama presented a Presidential medal of freedom to a basketball player.

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When the South was mostly white, Russell was born in West Monroe. Russell spoke out against the racism he and other Black basketball players faced throughout his career because of the racism he and his family faced as a child. Russell and several of his Celtics teammates boycotted an exhibition game against the St. Louis Hawks in 1959 because they were denied service at a Kentucky restaurant because they were black.