Celtics’ legend Bill Russell getting a statue in Boston

bill-russell-white-sidelinesLegendary Boston Celtics center Bill Russell will get a statue erected in Boston. The monument will be unveiled on City Hall Plaza before the Celtics’ home opener in two weeks.

According to the press release, a sculpture honoring William Felton ‘Bill’ Russell designed by local Artist Ann Hirsch in collaboration with Pressley Associates and with the Boston Art Commission will be unveiled on Boston City Hall Plaza.

A special ceremony to honor him will feature TNT NBA Analyst Kenny Smith, the Boston Celtics Legend himself, Bill Russell’s daughter Karen Kenyatta Russell, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Co-Owner, Managing Partner, and Shamrock Foundation President Stephen Pagliuca, Celtics Managing Partner, Governor, CEO and Co-Owner Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Managing Partner and Co-owner Bob Epstein, Team President Rich Gotham, Congressman Joe Kennedy III, NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver along with Arnold ‘Red’ Auerbach’s daughters Randy and Nancy Auerbach Collins.

The Bill Russell 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.

The larger than life sculpture of Russell is on a low base in game action, poised with basketball in hand about to pass the ball to a teammate.

He aims towards a low-standing, open stone engraved with Mr. Russell’s quote, ‘The most important measure of how good a game I’d played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.’

Ten granite blocks, surround Russell for a total of 11 elements representing Russell’s 11 championships with the Boston Celtics. Each plinth features a key word and a corresponding quotation to illuminate the myriad of accomplishments spanning Russell’s career both on and off the court.

The artwork is inscribed in a field of brick and granite pavers that reflect the proportions of a court.

“Mr. Russell’s legacy is vital to the story of this city in sports and in terms of human rights,” Ann Hirsch said. “I am proud and humbled to have been chosen to create this artwork and am especially thrilled that I will be able to work as a mentor myself by involving local children in my process through the Shamrock Foundation.”

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.


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