The Personal Collection of Bill Russell at Public Auction

Fall/Winter 2021 | Boston, Massachusetts






BILL RUSSELL COLLECTION TO BE OFFERED AT HISTORIC LIVE AUCTION IN BOSTON: FALL 2021

Hunt Auctions is honored to announce a highly significant offering of historic basketball artifacts and personal materials from the collection of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. The collection has been carefully preserved by Mr. Russell until its current unveiling to the public chronicling his historic basketball career and leader within the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s period.

William Felton Russell began his career struggling to make his high school team in Oakland, CA. His coach inspired him to work on the fundamentals to compliment Bill's incredible raw talent and rest was history. Russell led his team to two state championships behind his outstanding defensive style of play. Even so, there was very little interest shown by college recruiters with the exception of Hal DeJulio from the University of San Francisco. DeJulio recognized Russell's keen defensive abilities and natural basketball instincts offering him a scholarship to come play for the school. Russell simply dominated the college basketball landscape leading USF to national championships in 1955 and 1956 inclusive of a string of 55 consecutive victories. Before joining the Boston Celtics who had pulled off a draft day trade considered one of the most consequential in the history of American sports history Bill was named captain of the United States Olympic team for 1956 and led the team to a dominating gold media campaign.

Bill Russell began his career with the Boston Celtics in 1956 which would continue with the club until 1969. The accomplishments achieved by Bill Russell and the Celtics during his tenure are unmatched by any particular player/team in the history of American sports: (11) NBA Championships; (5) NBA Most Valuable Player Awards; (12) NBA All-Star selections; (11) All-NBA Team selections (1st and 2nd teams). Russell's instinctive play and defensive focus revolutionized the game of basketball. His relentless pursuit of winning was equaled only by his commitment to the accomplishments of the team rather than focusing on personal statistics.

The significance of Bill Russell to the NBA and in fact American sports is difficult to measure but can certainly be attained to some measure through his stunning career statistics. Bill's legacy to the NBA, the Civil Rights movement, and commitment to social justice is much more challenging to quantify. From his earliest days at the University of San Francisco Bill Russell was confronted with the abhorrent evils of racism. White fans jeered Russell and several African American teammates especially on road games including one incident where the he and his teammates were not permitted in hotels in Oklahoma City. Russell used these foundational incidents to better himself and fortified his commitment to causes for social justice that would last throughout his career and post basketball life. "I never permitted myself to be a victim." said Russell. Bill Russell was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 and recently was honored with a second Hall of Fame selection as a coach.




HIGHLIGHTS:



1964-65 Bill Russell Boston Celtics NBA Most Valuable Player Award


Bill Russell Boston Celtics Professional Model Warm Up Jacket c.1960s


1964 Bill Russell U.S. State Department NBA All-Star Team Professional Model Jersey


Bill Russell Boston Celtics Career Championships Ring


Bill Russell 1969 Boston Celtics NBA Championship Ring


Bill Russell NBA 50 Greatest All-Time Players Ring