Bill Russell Sues NCAA

Bill Russell Sues NCAA

The NBA Hall-of-Famer claims the college athletics governing body wrongly profits from the use of his likeness.

Published October 6, 2011

It appears that the NCAA may be in violation this time.
Former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging that the intercollegiate sports governing association has profited from featuring his likeness in commercially sold videos without seeking his permission or offering compensation, according to a Bloomberg report. Russell filed suit in a federal court in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday.

As a University of San Francisco student, Russell led his team to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1955 and 1956. Videos of the team’s championship games are sold by the association for $150, the lawsuit claims.

Russell’s complaint may be combined with other athletes’ court cases charging that the NCAA and video-game giant Electronic Arts have improperly used their images in “Tournament of Legends,” a feature in the NCAA basketball video game.  

A five-time NBA most valuable player, Russell led the Boston Celtics to 11 league titles. In 1966, he was named the team’s player-coach — the first African-American head coach in the NBA. Russell, who was active in the civil rights movement, was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama at the White House this year.

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(Photo: USA/ALLSPORT/Getty Images)

Written by Terrance Harris


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