Boston unveils statue of NBA great Bill RussellJustin Tangney, of Worcester, Mass., reads an inscription on the basketball of a newly unveiled statue of former Boston Celtics star Bill Russell at City Hall Plaza in Boston, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
BOSTON (AP) -- It's a day to honor another of Boston's greatest sports champions.
Former Celtics star Bill Russell watched the unveiling of his statue Friday at City Hall Plaza. Team owners, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino were there, along with NBA greats Bill Walton, Charles Barkley and Julius Erving.
Russell played center from 1956 to 1969, also serving as player-coach for three seasons. During those years, the Celtics won 11 NBA titles.
Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Some believe the Boston honor was long overdue.
President Barack Obama awarded Russell a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Obama got a sneak preview of the statue by a local artist during the president's Boston visit Wednesday.