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Celtics

Celtics Legend Bill Russell To Get Statue In City Hall Plaza

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President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Bill Russell. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Bill Russell. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) -  The long-deserved statue of Celtics legend Bill Russell will stand in City Hall Plaza, Boston Mayor Tom Menino announced Monday.

“Today we mark another critical milstone in Boston’s tribute to Bill Russell,the greatest sports champion of our time and a tremendous advocate for human rights and education” Menino said.

“Bill Russell has continued to excel off the court in delivering support to our young people throughout mentoring prgrams,” Celtics Managing Partner and President of the Shamrock Foundation Steve Pagliuca said. “The site that Bill Russell and the Bill Russell Legacy Project selected for Bill’s statue is perfect for all of Bostonians to visit and recognize him for all his accomplishments.”

The site of the statue was chosen because of it’s prominent civil location and proximity to Fanuel Hall, the Freedom Trail and many other historic sites. It was approved by both the committee and Russell himself.

The statue is expected to be in place by next June.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Carl Stevens reports

Three artists have been selected as finalists to build the statue. Fern Cunningham, Ann Hirsch and Antonio Tobias Mendez will present their ideas to the Bill Russell Legacy Project comittee in the fall and a winning design will be chosen.

The artists have been asked to incorporate Russell’s work in mentoring and the civil rights movement, making it an educational and interactive experience.

“Thousands and thousands of young people travel it every year. They’ll be able to see Bill Russell and the message we have about mentoring, and we hope to impress upon kids and adults. Adults have to help young people and mentor them, and how kids need to make the right choices in life,” said Menino.  

The whole movement to get a Russell statue picked up steam last year, when President Obama called on the city to honor Russell in this way.

It was the same day the president awarded Russell with the Medal of Freedom.

Russell won 11 titles with the Celtics from 1956-1969, including nine straight. He won five MVP’s, although always had a “team-first” mentality.

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