Bill Russell’s name is synonymous with basketball excellence. Over the course of his career, he won an amazing 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons. Also, he became the first African American coach in the history of the NBA. For all his accomplishments, Mr. Russell will be honored at the 2019 ESPY Awards for his achievements as a player and his work as a freedom fighter. Adding another trophy to his massive collection, Bill Russell to Receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Russell has fought for civil rights and battled discrimination since entering the NBA in 1956. He participated in the March on Washington in 1963 and one of the first star athletes to publicly support Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be inducted into the draft to fight in the Vietnam War along with Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011. Russell even tweeted his support for Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp in February.
On the final day of #BlackHistoryMonth I wanted to make sure I show my support to @Kaepernick7 #ImWithKap #BHM @yourrightscamp @Nike #TrueTo7 @BleacherReport @espn @SLAMonline #Stoptheviolence pic.twitter.com/amg3PMMIbm
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) February 28, 2019
On Twitter, Russell expressed his excitement saying, “Just found out I will be receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Arthur was a man of great courage. Tune in July 10, this is a special honor!”
Russell will be the first former NBA player to win the award as well as the first Boston athlete.
The 2019 ESPYs broadcast is slated for Wednesday, July 10 at 8 p.m. ET.