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Bill Russell’s Net Worth



Bill Russell's Net Worth

Net Worth: $10 Million
Full name: William Felton Russell
Nickname: Bill Russell
Date of Birth: February 12, 1934
Died: July 31, 2022
Age: 88
Place of Birth: West Monroe, Louisiana
Country of Origin: United States of America
Gender: Male
Height: 6′ 10 (2.08m)
Occupation: Basketball Player, Coach, Sports Commentator, Writer
Social Media Accounts: Instagram, Twitter

What Is Bill Russell’s Net Worth

Referring to William Felton Russell (Bill Russell) as one of the greatest of all time in the world of sports would be an understatement.

During his career, Bill Russell won two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships consecutively, along with 11 National Basketball Association (NBA) championships.

How much is the net worth of Bill Russell?

The estimate of Bill Russell’s net worth at the time of his death was $10 million.

This article will discuss in detail everything you need to know about Bill Russell. This includes his personal life, career, awards, and relationships.

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Early Life

Russell was born in West Monroe, Louisiana, on the 12th of February 1934 to Charles Russell and Katie Russell. During this time, his father worked at a paper mill until the family moved to Oakland, California, in 1943.

While in Louisiana, though, the Russells experienced high levels of racial discrimination. This was before and during WWII, when segregation and lynching against African Americans were prominent in the South.

In 1943, when Bill Russell was eight years old, the Russell family, just like many others, moved to the West. Specifically, they settled in Oakland, California.

There, the Russell family faced financial crises, and this caused the family to live in various public housing projects.

At first, Charles Russell worked as a janitor in a paper factory which provided a meager income for the family.  However, as time went on, Charles Russell got the job of a truck driver.

Sadly, at the age of 12, Bill Russell lost his mother, Katie Russell. This sudden event greatly affected him emotionally as he had a closer relationship with his mother.

It caused him to become shy and withdrawn, spending most of his days reading in the Oakland Public Library.

The death of his wife also led to Charles Russell resigning from his job as a trucker. He, instead, took up the position of a steel worker in order to be closer to his children.

This action moved Bill Russell, making him look to his father as a mentor while growing up. In this interview, you can see Bill Russell discussing the traits he learned from his father.

Career As a Basketball Player

1. Junior School/High School

Bill Russell got introduced to the sport of basketball while attending Herbert Hoover Junior High School and McClymonds High School. A natural athlete, he excelled in both running and jumping.

Additionally, he had a tall height, and his hands were wider than the average individual of the same height. Still, he found it difficult to play basketball because of his inability to immediately grasp the fundamental rules of the sport.

This led to Russell being unable to make the junior high school team. In high school, he would have also been left out of the team had it not been for George Powles, the coach.

Powles saw his potential and motivated him to learn the fundamentals of basketball.

In no time, Russell became well-grounded in the sport and even came up with a unique style of defense. During his time, he had been told that the best way to play defense was for him to stay flat-footed at all times.

The belief was that staying flat-footed helps players to make quick reactions as a response to the opponents attacking plays. Russell defied this belief with his defensive style, which involved jumping to block shots.

2. University of San Francisco(USF)

Bill Russel didn’t receive any offer from college recruiters for a while. However, during one of his games in high school, Hal Dejulio, a college recruiter, took note of his natural talent for the game.

He also noticed Russell’s ability to serve as a clutch player. In an interview, Hal Dejulio said, “I saw Russell’s head rise above the multitude … I couldn’t believe it.”

Afterward, Del Julio made the move to convince Phil Woolpert, the University of San Francisco Coach, to give Russell an opportunity. According to Del Julio, “Once he (Phil Woolpert) got him in there and saw him run and jump, he’d see he had a man from Mars, something he’d never seen.”

Thereafter, Russell was offered a scholarship to USF, where he played as the new starting center. At USF, the coach, Woolpert, prioritized a defensive style of play.

Thankfully, this fitted perfectly with Russell’s defensive play style. Also, Phil Woolpert’s decision to use a player in a game was not influenced by their skin color but by their ability.

As such, he was the first coach to start three black players (Bill Russell, K.C Jones, and Hal Perry) in a major college team. This gave room for Bill Russell to further hone his defensive skills.

Bill Russell at USF

Subsequently, Russell achieved the feat of leading and helping his college team win the NCAA championships both in 1955 and 1956.

3. National Basketball Association (NBA)

During the 1956 NBA draft, the coach of the Celtics, Red Auerbach, was set on signing Bill Russell as a part of his team. He believed that Russell’s defensive skill was what the Celtics needed to outshine the other teams.

After several formalities, the Celtics were able to acquire Russell.

Bill Russel and Red Auerbach

Russell didn’t immediately start playing for the Celtics due to his engagement in the 1956 Summer Olympics. At the Olympics, he captained the 1956 United States men’s Olympic basketball team and helped them win first place.

After achieving this, Russell was able to make his debut alongside many other basketball players who would also go on to become very prominent. On the 22nd of December 1956, Russell played his first game for the Celtics against the Saint Louis Hawks.

Just as the coach predicted, Bill Russell’s defensive skills were all they needed to build a tough defense. Consequently, Russell was instrumental in his team winning 11 NBA championships in the 13 seasons in which he played.

Here is a rare interview where Red Auerbach talks about Bill Russell and why he prefers him.

Post-Playing Career

In 1969, Bill Russell retired as a basketball player. As a sign of respect, the Boston Celtics retired the No.6 shirt which Russell wore.

Thereafter, from 1973 to 1977, Russell served as the coach of the Seattle Supersonics. He also became the coach of the Sacramento Kings from 1987 to 1988.

While coaching these teams, Russell found it challenging to integrate his defensive style of play.

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Later on, Russell took up the position of a commentator for Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) and Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) from the 1970s up until the 1980s. Russell would also go on to collaborate with major writers in the production of books such as “Second Wind” and “Russell Rules.”

Involvement In Activism

Bill Russell During the March at Washington DC

During the 1960s, Bill Russell took part in the civil rights movement. He was present in the March on Washington, where Martin Luther gave the popular speech titled “I Have a Dream.”

Furthermore, he was one of the individuals who respected and supported Mohammed Ali’s decision not to enlist in the army.

Major Source Of Earning

Bill Russell made most of his major earnings as a basketball player. In 1965, Russell demanded a raise.

He asked for a salary of $100,001 just after Wilt Chamberlain became the first player in the NBA to receive $100,000 as his pay.


Bill Russell, throughout his lifetime, married four times. His first marriage was with Rose Swisher, with whom he shared all his children.

Bill Russell and Rose Swisher

Their first child was William Junior. He was born in 1957 and died in 2016 as a result of cancer.

Karen Kenyatta Russell, their second child, was born in 1962. Karen is a lawyer who graduated from the University of Harvard.

The last child of Bill Russell and Rose Swisher is Jacob Russell.

Karen Kenyatta Russell With Bill Russell

The marriage between Bill Russell and Rose Swisher lasted from 1956 to 1973. They grew emotionally distant and divorced in 1973.

In 1977, Russell married Dorothy Anstett, a beauty pageant winner who won the Miss USA of 1968. However, 12 years later, the marriage came to an end, with the couple divorcing in 1980.

In 1996, Bill Russell entered into a marriage with Marilyn Nault, who passed away in 2009, making him a widower.

Before Russell’s death in 2022, he met and married his fourth wife, Jeanine. The details of how they met are unclear, but the couple wedded in 2018 when Russell was 84.

The couple both tried to keep their relationship private, away from the media.

Bill Russell Awards

Bill Russell received numerous awards in his lifetime. Some of his most notable awards include the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), which he received five times.

He also won the NBA All-Star awards 12 times. Additionally, in 2011, Barack Obama awarded Billy Russell with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Also, Russell ranks as number two on the list of players with the highest number of rebounds in the history of the NBA. Specifically, he had a total of 21,620 rebounds.

Famous Quotes From Bill  Russell

Several quotes from Bill Russell will always remain memorable. Some of these quotes are:

“The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.”

“Commitment separates those who live their dreams from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered.”

“If you really have integrity, there are very few people who can insult you or honor you.”

“If you can take something to levels that very few other people can reach, then what you’re doing becomes art.”

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Bottom Line

The life of Billy Russell passes across the message that a person can achieve anything they set their mind to, irrespective of the challenges.

Bill Russell, through his dedication and perseverance, was able to leave a legacy behind which would be remembered for generations. Also, his work ethic placed him as a top earner during his time, making it possible to amass a net worth of  $10 million.

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