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Boston Celtics

This Date in NBA History (June 30): Bill Russell announces his retirement after 13-year NBA career in 1969 and more

On June 30th in 1969, Bill Russell announced his retirement from professional basketball after a 13-year NBA career.

The announcement came nearly two months after the 6-10 center led the Boston Celtics past the Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 in the NBA Finals while playing the dual role of a player and head coach.

The 1969 NBA Championship was the second of two titles, the first came in 1968, that Russell led the franchise to as a player and head coach. It was the 11th title of his career - the most by an individual in NBA history.

In fact, just twice in his 13 NBA seasons did Russell fail to clinch a title - in 1957-58 when Bob Petit led the St. Louis Hawks to glory and in 1966-67 when Wilt Chamberlain led the Philadelphia 76ers to their second title.

Russell was selected second overall in the 1956 Draft, a pick owned by the St. Louis Hawks but later traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for then 6-time All-Star Ed Macauley.

In all years in the league, all with the Celtics, Russell was named league MVP five times (1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965), an All-Star 12 times and an All-NBA player 11 times (3 x First Team; 8 x Second Team).

MORE: How Russell & Chamberlain laid groundwork for social activism

Three years after retirement, in 1972, his #6 jersey was retired in a nearly-empty Boston Garden. A few years later, in 1975, Russell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

After his player/coach role for two years with the Celtics, Russell had a couple of other coaching stints with the Seattle SuperSonics (1973-77) and the Sacramento Kings (1988-89).

Russell, who in 1980 was named the "Greatest Player in the History of the NBA" by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America, received further recognition from the NBA in 2009 when the Finals MVP award was named after him as the 'Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award'.

In 2017, at the first-ever NBA Awards, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other notable events on June 30th

  • In 1993, Orlando Magic selected Chris Webber with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. This was the Magic's second straight year selecting the No. 1 overall pick. However, the franchise traded the rights to the 6-9 power forward/center to the Golden State Warriors for their third pick in the same Draft - Anfernee Hardaway - and three future first-round picks.
  • In 1999, Chicago Bulls selected Elton Brand with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Since the franchise joined the NBA in 1966, this was its first No. 1 overall pick. They would receive another chance to pick No. 1 in 2008 where they would select Derrick Rose.

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