NBA legend Bill Russell dies
LOS ANGELES (MNS)—National Basketball Association Hall-of-Famer and 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell, has died at the age of 88, his family announced Sunday, according to CBS News.
CBS reported Russell passed away peacefully with his wife Jeannine by his side.
As a player and coach with the Boston Celtics and one of the most important figures in NBA history, some
of the most celebrated duels in NBA history involved the Celtics and Los Lakers featuring Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and later Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, and James Worthy.
Born in Louisiana in 1934, Russell was not initially considered a top basketball prospect out of San Francisco's McClymonds High School. His first scholarship offer came from the University of San Francisco (USF), a school hardly known for its basketball prowess but one that Russell was able to carry to consecutive national championships in 1955 and 1956.
Despite his collegiate excellence, Russell was not the first pick in the 1956 NBA Draft. That honor went to Duquesne wing Si Green. That left Russell available at No. 2, where the St. Louis Hawks were drafting. However, circumstances worked in Russell's favor. Boston Celtics star Ed Macauley's son was being treated for spinal meningitis in St. Louis, so he asked the team to send him there as a favor. They did so, and Boston landed the No. 2 pick in exchange for Macauley and fellow Hall-of-Famer Cliff Hagan.
The deal didn't exactly blow up in St. Louis' face. Though they lost the 1957 Finals to Boston, the Hawks came back to win it all in a 1958 rematch with the Celtics. But that would be the last championship they'd ever win. Russell won 10 more, including the next eight in a row.
The trade was just as important to Russell as it was to the Celtics. "If I would've gotten drafted by St. Louis, I wouldn't have been in the NBA," Russell said in an interview with NBATV. "St. Louis was overwhelmingly racist." Sadly, Russell faced racism throughout his early life in the South and his entire career in Boston, and he became one of the most socially conscious athletes in US history.
Russell, who was not only a basketball standout, but competed in the high jump in track and field at USF, attended Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech in person and was one of several black athletes and leaders to attend the 1967 Cleveland Summit in support of Muhammad Ali.
In 1966, Russell became the first Black head coach in American sports history when he replaced Red Auerbach in Boston. He retained his role as the team's starting center while coaching the team on his way to its last two championships.
STRENGTHEN THE PACK
Shooting guard Austin Rivers, formerly of the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets had his best season in 2017-18 with the Clippers, where he saw action in 61 games and averaged a career-high 15.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and career-best 4.0 assists.
Timberwolves retooling for 2022-23
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL (MNS)—The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed three players, who are sure to brighten the team's 2022-23 prospects for a title. Guards Austin Rivers, Bryn Forbes, and Wendell Moore Jr., will shore up the team's guard ranks.
Rivers, 6-4, spent last season with the Denver Nuggets where he averaged 6.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 67 games (18 starts). He registered his best season in 2017-18 with the LA Clippers, where he saw action in 61 games (a career-high 59 starts) and averaged a career-high 15.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and a career-best 4.0 assists.
In 10 seasons in the NBA with the New Orleans Pelicans organization, Clippers, Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks and Nuggets, Rivers has tallied 5,741 points, 1,359 rebounds and 1,438 assists throughout 655 games (174 starts). The Santa Monica, Calif. native, has seen action in 60 postseason match- ups (15 starts) during seven trips to the NBA playoffs, including four straight seasons. He holds playoff career averages of 7.5 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 22.1 minutes per game. Rivers was originally selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Forbes, 6-2, split time last season with the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs where he averaged 8.8 points on 42.9 percent shooting, including 41.4 percent from three, 1.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 75 games (two starts). In eight seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and Nuggets, Forbes has appeared in 406 career games (167 starts) while holding career averages of 9.1 points on 43.8 percent shooting, inclu- ding 41.3 percent from deep, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
The Lansing, Mich. native has seen action in 42 postseason matchups (seven starts) during five trips to the playoffs, including winning the 2020-21 NBA Championship with the Bucks. He holds playoff career averages of 6.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game.
Guard Wendell Moore Jr. is the third player the Timberwolves signed. Standing 6-5, Moore was also acquired by Minnesota during the 2022 NBA Draft, averaged 13.4 points (ranking second on Duke), 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists (fourth in the ACC) and 1.3 assists per game in his junior season at Duke. For his collegiate career, Moore Jr. averaged 10.7 points on 45.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists. He recorded the fifth triple-double in Duke history with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Army on Nov. 12, 2021.