Bill Russell is a retired professional basketball player, who was born in Monroe, Louisiana, spent his childhood in Oakland, California and played college basketball for University of San Francisco from 1953-1956. At this time, integrated college basketball existed, however it was not widespread and black basketball players faced increased scrutiny and discrimination from fans, players, coaches and the media.
Throughout his career at USF (and in the NBA with the Celtics), Russell was a dominant player under-the-basket. He was a defensive beast and earned countless awards. However, Russell never sought out praise for his superb skills nor for his breaking down of racial barriers—Russell spoke his mind without hesitation and embellishment and led through his strong example. Russell changed the world with his presence.
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