File this under: Better late than never.
Bill Russell's election to the Basketball Hall of Fame was a lock. That's what winning 11 championships in 13 seasons will do.
But Russell — the first African-American player elected to the Hall in 1975 — refused his Hall of Fame ring, feeling that others before him should have been enshrined first.A major civil rights advocate, Russell refused to accept the ring for years -- until now.
On Friday morning, he finally accepted the ring in a private ceremony with his wife and friends noting "Good to see progress."
Check it out:
In a private ceremony w/my wife & close friends A.Mourning @AnnMeyers @billwalton & others I accepted my #HOF ring. In ‘75 I refused being the 1st black player to go into the @Hoophall I felt others before me should have that honor. Good to see progress; ChuckCooperHOF19 @NBA pic.twitter.com/2FI5U7ThTg— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) November 15, 2019
Through 13 seasons and 963 games played, the center averaged 15.1 points, 4.3 assists and 22.5 rebounds per game. Russell won the MVP award five times: 1957-58, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63 and 1964-65. He also appeared in 12 All-Star games, winning the All-Star Game MVP award in 1963.
There's no words to describe how truly unbelievable Russell was on the court, and it's a pleasure to see him finally accept his well-deserved HOF ring.
Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of the Maine Red Claws vs. the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, which tips off Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET , followed by Celtics Pregame Live before the C's face the Warriors. You can also stream both games through the MyTeams App.