Bill Russell Recovering After Collapsing at Speaking Engagement

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2014

Getty Images

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.

Original Text

Former Boston Celtics star Bill Russell was taken to the hospital after collapsing during a speaking engagement Thursday.

The NBA legend was giving a presentation in Lake Tahoe, but there was immediate concern once he started to feel faint, according to CBS Boston:

"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:

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.

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

Follow TheRobGoldberg on Twitter


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.