Why didn’t Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell want his jersey retired in public?

Hall of Fame Boston Celtics big man Bill Russell won all 11 NBA titles to his name with the Celtics, became part of the first all-Black starting five in the history of the league, was elevated to become the first Black head coach of any team in the major North American pro sports in Boston, and earned countless other accolades during his time playing for the team.

So why didn’t the legendary Boston big man allow the Celtics to retire his number in a public ceremony? The answer lies in Russell’s love for the Celtics and hatred for awards as much as it did his often strained relationship with the city of Boston.

Watch the clip embedded below courtesy of the folks at CLNS Media’s NBA history and legends YouTube Channel to hear more about the complicated history between the iconic Celtics center and the city he rose to greatness in as a player a coach.

Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire