Celtics legend Bill Russell collapses during event, taken to hospital

bill-russell-white-sidelinesNBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell was hospitalized on July 17, after collapsing during a corporate speaking event at a resort town on the shores of Lake Tahoe, AFP reported.

The Boston Celtics released a statement saying that the 80-year-old Russell is conscious and recovering in a Nevada hospital, and is hopeful that he will be able to fly back to his Seattle-area home.

According to witnesses, Russell began to feel faint while making his speech and fell to the floor before being carried out of the Hyatt Regency hotel on a stretcher.

Russell was arrested nine months ago after airport officials in Seattle found him trying to board a flight with a loaded hand gun in his carry-on luggage.

Russell later apologized saying he accidently left the .38-calibre Smith & Wesson in his bag.

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. He 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.


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