Bill Russell Biography: Net Worth, Age, Wife, Children, Height, Death, Wikipedia, Twitter

Posted By Johnson Ajiboye April 18, 2024

Bill Russell, an American-born basketball player and coach, achieved remarkable success, securing 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics across 13 seasons.

Notably, he broke barriers by becoming the first African American coach of a major professional sports team in the United States.

Russell’s dominance on the court was underscored by his five NBA MVP titles, an unprecedented feat, with eight consecutive wins from 1959 to 1966.

Revered as one of the most influential figures in basketball history, he earned dual inductions into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, once for his outstanding playing career in 1975 and again for his coaching prowess in 2021.


  • Full Name: William Felton Russell
  • Nickname: Bill
  • Date of Birth: February 12, 1934
  • Age: 90 years old (as of 2024)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of Birth: Monroe, Louisiana, United States
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Former professional basketball player, coach, and author
  • Height: 6 feet 10 inches (208 cm)
  • Parents: Charles Russell ,Katie Russell
  • Siblings: Charlie L. Russell
  • Spouse: Marilyn Nault
  • Children: Karen Russell, William Jr. Russell, Jacob Russell
  • Relationship Status: Married
  • Net Worth: $10 million

Early Life and Education

Bill Russell, now posthumously at 90 as of 2024, was born on February 12, 1934, in Monroe, Louisiana.

He grew up in a deeply segregated America, where racial discrimination was rampant. Russell’s parents, Charles and Katie Russell, instilled in him the values of resilience and perseverance.

Raised alongside five siblings, he learned the importance of family and unity early.

Russell’s journey took a significant turn when his family moved to Oakland, California, during his childhood.

Here, he learned basketball skills, defying racial barriers and societal expectations. Despite facing adversity, Russell excelled academically and athletically. He attended McClymonds High School.

After high school, Russell continued his education at the University of San Francisco, where he further distinguished himself as a formidable basketball player.

His collegiate career was marked by numerous accolades, including leading the Dons to consecutive NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956.

Personal Life

Russell married his college sweetheart, Rose Swisher, in 1956, and their union lasted until 1973.

During this time, they welcomed three children: a daughter named Karen Russell, who later became a television pundit and lawyer, and two sons named William Jr. and Jacob.

However, as time passed, the emotional connection between Russell and Rose waned, ultimately leading to their divorce.

Following the dissolution of his first marriage, Russell entered into matrimony with Dorothy Anstett, who held the title of Miss USA in 1968.

However, their marriage was short-lived, ending in divorce in 1980. Russell’s third marriage occurred in 1996 when he exchanged vows with Marilyn Nault. Their marital bond endured until Marilyn’s passing in January 2009.


The Harlem Globetrotters invited Russell to join their exhibition basketball team. However, Russell, who was highly sensitive to any hint of racial prejudice, became infuriated when he learned that Globetrotters owner Abe Saperstein only wished to discuss the matter with USF Coach Woolpert rather than directly with Russell himself.

During the meeting between Saperstein and Woolpert, Globetrotters assistant coach Harry Hanna attempted to lighten the mood with jokes. Still, Russell was deeply offended by being overlooked and rejected the offer.

He concluded that if Saperstein deemed him unworthy of direct communication, he was too wise to play under Saperstein’s leadership.

Consequently, Russell made himself available for the 1956 NBA draft. In the draft, Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach identified Russell as the ideal candidate for the team, recognizing his defensive prowess and rebounding abilities as valuable assets.

Auerbach’s assessment diverged from the prevailing norms of the time, wherein offensive capabilities were prioritized over defensive skills for centers and forwards.

Boston’s prospects of acquiring Russell seemed bleak initially, given their second-place finish in the previous season and their lower position in the draft order.

Moreover, Auerbach had already utilized the team’s NBA territorial pick to secure talented forward Tom Heinsohn.

Aware that the Rochester Royals, holding the first draft pick, were seeking an outside shooting guard and were reluctant to meet Russell’s requested signing bonus of $25,000, Auerbach orchestrated negotiations with Rochester owner Les Harrison through Celtics owner Walter A. Brown.

Brown received assurances from Harrison that the Royals could not afford Russell and were inclined to select Sihugo Green instead.

Subsequently, the St. Louis Hawks, possessing the second pick, drafted Russell but were primarily interested in Celtics center Ed Macauley, a six-time NBA All-Star with strong ties to St. Louis.

Auerbach agreed to trade Macauley, who had expressed a desire to join St. Louis to be closer to his ailing son, in exchange for Russell.

However, the Hawks’ owner demanded additional concessions in the trade, insisting on acquiring Cliff Hagan, who had yet to play for the Celtics due to military service, alongside Macauley.

After deliberation, Auerbach acquiesced to the demands, and the trade was finalized. During the same draft, Boston also selected guard K. C. Jones, Russell’s former teammate at USF.

The Celtics secured three future Basketball Hall of Famers in 1956: Russell, Jones, and Heinsohn. The trade involving Russell on draft day was later hailed as one of the most significant transactions in the annals of North American sports.


  • 11-time NBA champion
  • 5-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP)
  • 12-time NBA All-Star
  • NBA Hall of Fame inductee
  • Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient

Net Worth

Bill Russell’s net worth is estimated to be $10 million at his death. This net worth reflects his enduring legacy and contributions to basketball.


On July 31, 2022, Russell, who was 88, passed away at his residence in Mercer Island, Washington.

His family conveyed the news through a Twitter post. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in a statement, hailed Russell as “the ultimate champion among team athletes.”


Bill Russell, renowned for his activism in civil rights and his remarkable basketball career marked by 12 NBA All-Star appearances, has been embroiled in several notable incidents:

In 1961, Russell, accompanied by Satch Sanders, K.C. Jones, and Sam Jones, boycotted an exhibition game in Lexington, Kentucky, following their unjust treatment at the hotel restaurant.

In 1964, Russell made a significant visit to Mississippi following the tragic assassination of civil rights icon Medgar Evers.

In 2020, Russell penned an insightful essay for SLAM magazine detailing his lifelong battle against racism.

All proceeds from the publication were directed towards charitable organizations supporting Black communities.

Additionally, Russell’s relationship with the city of Boston has stirred controversy, characterized by strains and discomfort predominantly stemming from instances of racism and discrimination he has encountered.

Social Media

  • Instagram: @realbillrussell
  • Twitter: @BillRussellNBA


  • Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man (1979)
  • Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century’s Greatest Winner (2001)

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