Skip to main content

A historic night for Bill Russell

One of the greatest rebounders off all time, Bill Russell had a special night on this day.
Boston Celtics center Bill Russell

Bill Russell

The general rule of thumb is, Wilt Chamberlain collected stats, and Bill Russell collected rings. That's why we assume all monster individual performances from their era probably go to Wilt. Well, that way of thinking is not correct. Just because he sacrificed for the team doesn't mean Bill Russell never broke the record books. 

51 rebounds

On this date in 1960, Bill Russell made NBA history with a 51-rebound game. Grabbing three rebounds in the final 36 seconds, Russell became the first player to pull down 50 rebounds in a game. The 6-foot-10 Boston Celtics center finished 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.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Coach Red Auerbach was told right before the game about Russell's chance for the record, so he let him play the entire 48 minutes. Russell got 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.

Wilt's response

Chamberlain took notice of Russell's incredible achievement, and he couldn't just let it stand. It took him 9 and-a-half months to kick his buddy of the no.1 spot. Wilt grabbed 55 against Russell and the Celtics on November 24. 

But don't think the 51-rebound performance was a total anomaly for Bill Rusell. He had 51 in one other game, 49 in two others, and 12 straight seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds. Russell finished his career with an astonishing 21 thousand rebounds after 13 seasons in the NBA. 

Tracy McGrady

"I don’t broadcast that, I don’t show that off a lot" - Tracy McGrady on his low-key AAU program

T-Mac's program has a perk which teaches his pupils about the reality of life

Rick Barry

“Do you know how much better I would be if I was playing today?” - Rick Barry once explained why he would’ve thrived in this era

A longtime coach likened Barry to Luka recently to show a modern-day comparison for the Warriors legend.

Reggie Miller

“When people say they don’t regret it, they’re lying” - Reggie Miller once revealed not winning a ring “burns” him

Miller also opted to remain loyal with the Pacers instead of chasing a ring with the Celtics in 2007.

JJ Redick talks about how he almost got into a fight with a teammate while with the 76ers

“My offseasons were harder than the season... I couldn't do another offseason.” - JJ Redick gets real on why he retired in 2021

While the offseason grind had helped Redick, perhaps his old age made it more difficult to work out like had had before.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (right) reacts with forward Mike Miller (18)

“Because I know what it looks like to play against or play besides LeBron James” - Mike Miller on his transition to becoming an NBA agent

Mike Miller is blazing a trail for other retired players who want to enter the industry, like T-Mac and J.O.