Bill Russell statue to be unveiled on City Hall Plaza next month

President Barack Obama presents Basketball Hall of Fame member and human rights advocate Bill Russell the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts.  Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Barack Obama presents Basketball Hall of Fame member and human rights advocate Bill Russell the 2010 Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama presented the medal to twelve pioneers in sports, labor, politics and arts. Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

One of the city’s greatest athletes is about to get an honor that has been a long time coming.

A statue honoring Boston Celtic legend Bill Russell will be unveiled Nov. 1 on City Hall Plaza in an event that will also bring dozens of sports superstars to downtown Boston.

The Celtics on Wednesday released plans for the ceremony.

TNT NBA Analyst Kenny Smith will emcee the event that will be attended by sports legends including NFL icon and activist Jim Brown, MLB great Joe Morgan, MLB great Frank Robinson, NBA icon Julius “Dr. J” Erving, NBA Hall of Fame member Charles Barkley, NBA Hall of Fame member Elgin Baylor, NBA Hall of Fame member Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, NBA Hall of Fame member George “The Iceman” Gervin and NBA great Fred “Downtown” Brown, according to the Celtics.

Russell won 11 NBA Championships in Boston. He played for the Celtics between 1956 and 1969 and coached the team after that.

The lack of a special honor in the city that he brought 11 championships to left many people in wonder, including President Barack Obama.

Obama awarded Russell the Medial of Freedom in 2011 for his human rights advocacy. During the ceremony, Obama said that he hoped one day that children in Boston would be able to look up at a statue of Russell the player and the man.

That statue has been created by Somerville-based artist Ann Hirsch.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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