Boston Celtics unveil Bill Russell’s statue – PHOTO


bill-russell-1It’s was day to honor another of Boston’s greatest sports champions, as former Celtics star Bill Russell watched the unveiling of his statue Friday at City Hall Plaza, AP reported.

The statue was created by Ann Hirsch, a Somerville based artist. Hirsch’s approach focuses on the body, movement and traditional sculpture technique to create spaces for interaction that enhance the experience of a place. The artwork represents Bill Russell the whole man, honoring him as an athlete, coach, human rights activist, ground breaker and mentor.

Team owners, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino were there, along with NBA greats Bill Walton, Charles Barkley and Julius Erving.

Russell played center from 1956 to 1969, also serving as player-coach for three seasons. He was a five-time MVP, 11-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star in his 13 seasons with the Celtics.

Russell was also a pioneer for African-American professional athletes, serving as a key voice and figure during the civil rights era.

Russell played in 963 NBA games and holds career averages of 15.1 ppg and 22.5 rpg and 4.3 apg  in 42.3 minutes of playing time.

He never averaged below 18.6 rebounds per game in his career, and did not average double figures in scoring in only his last season as a pro. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game five times in his career.

Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Some believe the Boston honor was long overdue.

President Barack Obama awarded Russell a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Obama got a sneak preview of the statue by a local artist during the president’s Boston visit Wednesday.

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