Skip to main content

A wholesome story on how Bill Russell found out his name will be on the Finals MVP trophy an hour before the announcement

bill russell & david stern

In 2009, the late great NBA commissioner David Stern announced the trophy given to the MVP of the finals would be named after NBA legend Bill Russell. Interestingly, Russell never won the finals MVP award even though he won 11 NBA championships. However, the Celtics from that era had a fantastic team stacked with HOF players who, despite their individual qualities, played like a team, and Russell was their leader.

In an interview, Russell shared how he didn't know the trophy would be named after him and told him only an hour before it was announced, which was somewhat a surprise. However, something that is truly remarkable and at the same time showcases how great Stern was is that he did tell Russell's wife about it a few weeks earlier. At that time, his wife was terminally sick, and everyone knew she didn't have long, so Stern wanted to make sure she knows the MVP trophy would carry her husband's name.

I heard it about an hour before. They kept it away from me, and my wife has just died, and David was sensitive enough that he called her five or six weeks before and told her they would going to do that, but she would not to tell me. That was one of the nicest things that I can imagine happening to our family. I think everybody but me knew she was dying, and I was moved by that. It was really great, almost overwhelming, and I am too egoistic to be overwhelmed.

Bill Russell, via NBA

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Russell will forever be remembered as an ultimate competitor, the most outstanding defensive force in NBA history, and a true leader of a dynasty that dominated the NBA for over a decade. It's also inspiring to hear how David Stern approached the delicate situation by actually knowing what is going with his family and his wife, who only had a few weeks left in this world. A legend like Russell deserves to have the finals MVP trophy named after him because of his incredible contribution to the sport and the NBA as a league.

The 2022 NBA Draft Class unanimously select their favorite player in the NBA

"I've been looking up to him since I was a baby" - The 2022 NBA Draft Class unanimously select their favorite player in the NBA

These young NBA players now have a chance to play alongside their favorite player of all time.

Zach LaVine after realizing he was using Kevin Garnett's locker in Minnesota: 'I’m actually kind of scared'

Zach LaVine after realizing he was using Kevin Garnett's locker in Minnesota: 'I’m actually kind of scared'

During his rookie season in Minnesota, Zach LaVine once used Kevin Garnett's locker and feared what the NBA Hall of Famer would do about it

Dejounte Murray responds to trade rumors swirling around him in the buildup to the 2022 NBA Draft

Uh Ohhhhhhhhh”- Dejounte Murray responds to trade rumors swirling around him in the buildup to the 2022 NBA Draft

Murray’s name keeps popping up in discussions with the Atlanta Hawks for John Collins, and Murray offered a simple response when seeing the rumors on Twitter: uh oh

The Phoenix Suns are “very motivated” to find a sign-and-trade deal for Deandre Ayton

The Phoenix Suns are “very motivated” to find a sign-and-trade deal for Deandre Ayton

The Suns could keep Ayton onboard since he’s only a restricted free agent, but with some bad blood between the two, they have decided that now is the time for them to move on from him

How Kobe Bryant built his huge business empire
Play

Kobe Bryant's best and worst investments throughout his career

Bryant invested $6 million a startup sports drink company called BodyArmor, and the current valuation of that investment is now close to $800 million

mark-price-john-stockton-min

John Stockton explains why Mark Price is one of the most underrated players ever

Stockton even called him one of the best guards he ever played against.

Rick Ross praises Dwyane Wade for letting LeBron become face of the Heat franchise

Rick Ross lauds Dwyane Wade for allowing LeBron James to become 'the face' of Miami: "That’s why he would never not be number 1"

Some credit LeBron James for Miami's historic back-to-back titles, but Rick Ross believes it wouldn't be possible if Dwyane Wade did not take a step back

michael-jordan-fan-min

Michael Jordan harshly rejects two kids asking for a photo

MJ is getting a lot of criticism for his reaction, as many people are saying LeBron would never treat his fans that way.