On this date in 1960, Bill Russell made NBA history having a 51-rebound game. Grabbing three rebounds in the final 36 seconds, Bill Russell becomes the first player to pull down 50 rebounds in a game. The 6-foot-10 Boston Celtics center finishes with 51, breaking the NBA mark of 49 rebounds he set on Nov. 16, 1957. This mark was the best in league history at the time and solidified Russell’s place as the most dominant player in the game.
Coach Red Auerbach was told right before the game about Russell's chance for the record and lets him play the entire 48 minutes. Russell gets 24 rebounds in the first half and 27 in the second half in the Celtics' 124-100 romp over the Syracuse Nationals before 5,518 fans in Boston. He also scored 23 points, making 8-of-16 field-goal attempts, and has five assists. It is unfortunate blocks weren’t counted at that time simply because Bill was one of the most dominant shot blockers in NBA history.
Russell's rebounding record will last 9 and-a-half months. His arch-rival Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia will grab 55 against Russell and the Celtics on November 24. Russell also had 51 in one game, 49 in two others, and 12 straight seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds. He would finish his career with an astonishing 21 thousand rebounds after 13 seasons in the NBA.