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Celtics Legend Bill Russell Auctioning 1957, 1969 NBA Title Rings, '100s' More Items

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

FILE - In this June 25, 2018, file photo, Bill Russell arrives at the NBA Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. Russell says he is finally ready to be a Hall of Famer. The 11-time NBA champion, five-time MVP, Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champ said on Twitter on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, that he was presented with his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony that comes three decades after he was first selected for the shrine at Springfield, Mass. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File

Boston Celtics legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell announced Thursday that he is auctioning off many of his most prized personal possessions, including two of his 11 NBA championship rings.

According to Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press, Russell is selling his 1957 and 1969 rings, which were the first and last titles of his 13-year career as a player.

The 87-year-old will also auction four of his five NBA MVP awards and the gold medal he won as part of Team USA at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

Hightower noted that Russell is selling "basketballs, jerseys, letters, photos and other keepsakes" as well.

Hunt Auctions is conducting the sale, and Russell released a video message on its website to announce the auction.

He said, "There are a few pieces I'll keep for myself, but the rest I will share with the world."

Russell intends to donate the money he earns from the auction to the Boston-based nonprofit organization he co-founded called MENTOR, which promotes mentoring relationships.

Russell, who has long been at the forefront of raising awareness regarding civil right issues, will donate to Boston Celtics United for Social Justice as well.

The Louisiana native is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, earning 12 All-Star nods during his 13-year career. In addition to playing on the Celtics' 1968 and 1969 championship teams, Russell was the head coach.

The 6'10" center averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 963 regular-season games as well.

Russell was a champion even before making it to the NBA, winning a pair of national titles at the University of San Francisco.

Per Hightower, the auction is scheduled to take place in Boston this fall or winter.

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