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July 18, 2014
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Celtics legend Bill Russell collapses during Tahoe speech

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Celtics officials say NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell is doing OK after collapsing during a speaking engagement near Lake Tahoe.

Team spokesman Brian Olive says the 80-year-old Russell felt faint after the Thursday morning fall at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe resort, but was planning on returning home to Seattle this evening.

Witness Michael Rooney tells The Associated Press that Russell was telling a story about Wilt Chamberlain to a roomful of Konica Minolta employees when he started to sway at the podium and then fell backward.

Rooney says Russell seemed to be conscious as hotel personnel and first responders came to his aid. The meeting was cut short and attendees left.

Russell, a five-time NBA MVP, is considered one of the best players in basketball history.

He won 11 championships in 13 years as a center with the Celtics. As a player-coach for the last two, he was the first black head coach in a major U.S. pro sport.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010 and was honored last year with a statue outside Boston’s City Hall.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 18, 2014 02:24PM Published Jul 21, 2014 10:08AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.