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GOAT club: Happy 87th birthday, Bill Russell

Tom Brady has seven Super Bowls, but that’s still four behind the Celtics legend when it comes to titles.
Bill Russell, left, shares his iconic laugh with Kobe Bryant of the Lakers during NBA All-Star weekend in 2007 in Las Vegas. Russell turned 87 on Friday.
Bill Russell, left, shares his iconic laugh with Kobe Bryant of the Lakers during NBA All-Star weekend in 2007 in Las Vegas. Russell turned 87 on Friday. [ MARK J. TERRILL | ASSOCIATED PRESS ]
Published Feb. 12, 2021

There has been a bevy of GOAT talk of late, and rightfully so, with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady winning a record seventh Super Bowl championship.

But on Feb. 12, TB12 has to take a back seat.

Bill Russell, whose 11 NBA titles tie him for the most championships won in the four major pro sports, turned 87 Friday. And how did the basketball legend feel about reaching that age?

“I’ll kick its ass,” said Russell, proving he’s still as competitive as ever, blowing out all 87 candles on his birthday cake.

The five-time league MVP had more laughs about his big day.

“Whew, I made it to 87! I want to thank my wife for another amazing cake & the small forest fire upon it,” Russell posted on Twitter. “Thanks (Shawn Kemp Jr.) for standing by with the extinguisher just in case, next time bring a cpr kit.”

Russell won 11 championships in 12 Finals appearances over 13 seasons for the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and ′60s. The only other player to win 11 titles in the four major sports is Henri Richard, who won 11 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens.

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