Bill Russell, who was inducted as a player in 1975, was honored for his coaching career; he is the fifth person to be inducted as both a player and a coach. “As tall as Bill Russell stands, his example and his legacy rise far, far higher.”
Others joining the Hall were: Villanova coach Jay Wright, defensive Pistons star Ben Wallace, two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh, longtime Portland and Sacramento coach Rick Adelman, Washington and Sacramento All-Star Chris Webber and two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith.
Russell, 87, was honored as the first Black coach in NBA history. Taking over the Celtics from Red Auerbach in 1966 and staying on as a player-coach for two more years, Russell guided Boston to NBA titles in 1968 and ’69.
Russell was present and wearing a Celtics mask at the ceremony, but his speech was presented as a prerecorded video.