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:

    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.