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Man of the Court - A Must Read for Every Basketball Fan
Bill Russell joined the Celtics in December after leading the American Olympic team to a gold medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games. He averaged 19.6 rebounds in 48 games as a rookie.
Russell had the biggest impact even though he wasn't the first Black head coach in professional sports since, in 1966, he was the first Black man to be chosen to lead a team in one of the main American sports leagues. The National Football League had previously employed great running back Fritz Pollard as a coach, but that was back in the 1920s, when the league was just getting off the ground. Although it was just a modest attraction, John McLendon was the head coach of the Cleveland Pipers in the American Basketball League from 1961 to 1962.