When you go back and look at all of the players that have played in the NBA, Bill Russell will always come up as one of the pioneers of the sport. Russell played with the Boston Celtics between 1956-1969 and won 11 championships which helped cement the Celtics as one of the greatest dynasties of all-time. Russell wasn’t just a basketball player but an activist as well. During the 50s and 60s, Russell helped fight for civil rights and equality and even participated in the March on Washington in 1963, according to Clutch Points.
At 85 years old, Russell will be honored this year at the ESPY’s with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award which is given to an athlete who goes above and beyond their sport. For example, last year the award was given to survivors of the United States gymnastics sex scandal. Back in 2015, the award was controversially given to Caitlyn Jenner after she made her transition from a man to a woman.
Russell Tweeted about the honor expressing just how excited he is about it. Considering Russell’s contributions to sport and society, it’s surprising that he’s only getting this award now but as they say, better late than never.
The ESPY’s will go down on July 10th so be sure to check those out if you want to see Russell’s acceptance speech live.