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Bill Russell asked Tim Duncan to be a pallbearer at his funeral, much like he was asked by Jackie Robinson’s wife

Akash Murty

Bill Russell asked Tim Duncan to be a pallbearer at his funeral, much like he was asked by Jackie Robinson’s wife

Bill Russell was most people’s favourite athlete while growing but his personal favourite was Tim Duncan.

We rarely hear people talk about Bill Russell when they talk about dominance on the basketball court. Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal are the favourites of the NBA community when it comes to that conversation.

Neither do we hear much about Tim Duncan in that line of discussion. Even Kevin Garnett is considered more dominant than the Spurs legend who ruled the court on both ends of the court in three separate decades.

It must have to do with the humble nature of both those big men which overshadowed their one-sided dominance on the court. And so, Russell always knew who was the heir to his legend in the NBA.

Also read: 6ft 10” Bill Russell once won an MVP over 7’1” Wilt Chamberlain averaging 50 PPG and triple-double averaging Oscar Robertson


Bill Russell wanted his favourite basketball player Tim Duncan to be a pallbearer at his funeral

On Sunday afternoon, at the age of 88, Russell left the world in peace after doing much more than being one of the most successful athletes of all time. The entire NBA community is heartbroken by the news but still is fondly remembering the Celtics great, reminiscing their stories with him.

NBA Twitter came up with a video in which Russell was having a one-on-one with Duncan at least 13 years ago. In the highly touching clip, Mr. 11 Rings asks the then 4x Champ and his favourite basketball player to be his pallbearer at his funeral, much like Russell was one at Jackie Robinson’s.

Timmy did win one more title in 2014, his 5th, the final, and maybe the sweetest of all because it came against LeBron James’ big-3 in Miami.

Duncan was really the true heir to Russell as he was not only the centrepiece of one of the greatest dynasties in the NBA, but he also is one of the winningest players in the league. The Spurs never missed the Playoffs throughout his career, which lasted even 6 years longer than Bill’s.

Also read: 6’10” Bill Russell hilariously revealed his sassier side, flipped Charles Barkley off on live, national television

What more a man could ask for when you are one of the best players in the NBA and also the favourite of one of the greatest athletes of all time, whom every basketball player idolized while growing up?

About the author

Akash Murty

Akash Murty


An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

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