Updates from Friday, July 18
ESPN.com has the latest on Russell:
The Hall of Fame center is "feeling better," the Celtics said, and is expected to fly back to his Seattle-area home as early as Thursday night.
Former Boston Celtics star Bill Russell was taken to the hospital after collapsing during a speaking engagement Thursday.
"The 80-year-old Russell has been a popular public speaker since retiring, conveying his 'team-first' mentality to corporations and groups around the world. He felt faint while addressing a group on Thursday and was taken to a local hospital, but remained conscience [sic] throughout."
One person in attendance provided the initial reaction from the crowd:
Prayers for Bill Russell, he just collapsed on stage while speaking to our company. #shocked— Christopher Martin (@cmartin4534) July 17, 2014
Fortunately, Scott Isaacs of WCVB reported some positive news following the situation:
The 80-year-old Hall of Fame center is considered by many to be one of the best players in NBA history. In 13 years in the league, Russell totaled 14,522 points, and he ranks second all time with 21,620 total rebounds. This helped him win an incredible 11 championships to go with five MVP awards and 12 All-Star appearances.
During the last three years of his career, Russell also became a player-coach, which made him the first African American head coach in league history. After retiring as a player, he continued coaching with the Seattle SuperSonics and Sacramento Kings, though he had much less success.
Russell was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975 and remains one of the most important players ever to play in the NBA. In 2009, then-commissioner David Stern announced that he would name the NBA Finals MVP award after the legend, explaining in a press release:
Who better to name this prestigious award for than one of the greatest players of all time and the ultimate champion. Bill inspired a generation not just of basketball fans but Americans everywhere. He is respected by colleagues, coaches, fans, and his legacy clearly has withstood the test of time.
A statue of Russell was also erected at Boston's City Hall Plaza in 2013.
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