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Boston Unveils Statue Of Celtics Great Bill Russell

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BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a tribute and honor long overdue to an NBA legend and perhaps the greatest basketball player ever to step on a court, Bill Russell.

A new statute of the Celtics legend was unveiled Friday at City Hall.

“I played a team game and only important statistic was who won the game. I will always thank my teammates for allowing me to help them become champions,” Russell said as a special ceremony at City Hall.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

Russell played for the Celtics from 1957-1969 where he won 11 NBA Championships and 5 MVPs. Though for many years his reception here in Boston was not well received.

“Boston was a much different city when Russell was playing here. But he fought through it and that’s why we honor him,” Mayor Tom Menino said at the ceremony.

The statue has been two years in the making. It was 2011, when President Obama gave Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom, that during that ceremony he said he hoped to see Boston one day honor the legend. The president actually received a sneak peak of the statue during a visit to Boston on Wednesday.

On Friday, Bill Russell said in front of hundreds of fans, friends and teammates he wants to be remembered for his hard work off the field as an humanitarian.

“I am a big fan of the next generation and we need to do all we can to make sure they are educated,” Russell said.

President Obama hugs Bill Russell during a private preview of Russell's statue in Boston. (Photo from White House/Pete Souza)

President Obama hugs Bill Russell during a private preview of Russell’s statue in Boston. (Photo from White House/Pete Souza)

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