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NBA fans wonder if Shaquille O'Neal ever bought Bill Russell's championship rings

Joshua Rogers August 1, 2022
shaq bill russell championship rings auction
Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images

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Shaquille O’Neal once promised to buy Bill Russell’s 11 championship rings. After the Celtics legend passed away, fans are now wondering whether Shaq ever bought them.

Legendary NBA star Bill Russell died on Sunday, July 29 aged 88. Russell won 11 championships with the Boston Celtics, including eight straight from 1959 to 1966. He was also a five-time NBA MVP and a 12-time All-Star.

As a coach for the Celtics, he led Boston to two titles, becoming the first black head coach to win an NBA championship.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal once promised to buy Bill Russell’s championship rings

Last year, it was revealed Bill Russell would be auctioning some of his playing career memorabilia to raise money for charity.

The news made its way on to Inside the NBA, with fellow Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal revealing he would love to have all 11 of Russell’s championship rings.

“I’d like to take some of that stuff off their hands,” said Shaq. “To be able to have all 11 of those rings, nobody’s outbidding me on that one.”

Check out the segment below:

Fans wonder whether Shaq ever bought Russell’s rings

After news of Russell’s passing, fans wondered whether Shaq ever got to buy Bill’s championship rings:

Unfortunately for Shaq, only two of Russell’s championship rings were up for auction – his first and his last. And even more unfortunate for fans, the owner of the auction house, Dave Hunt, of Hunt Auctions, never revealed whether O’Neal won the items, for the sake of privacy.

The Washington Post reports Hunt and his company never comment on buyers unless they wish to make themselves public.

Auction of Bill Russell’s memorabilia made more than $5M

According to NBA.com, the auction featured 429 lots accumulated by Russell, with the top 18 items alone bringing in more than $5.3 million.

The jersey Russell wore for his final game – the 1969 NBA Finals clincher that earned him his 11th championship – sold for more than $1.1 million.

Russell’s first championship ring went for $705,000, while his 1956 Olympic gold medal sold for $587,500. Russell’s five NBA MVP trophies were also up for auction, with their combined sale prices topping $1.3 million.

Proceeds went to MENTOR, which connects young people with advisers who can provide them with opportunities, and to the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice, which fights racial injustice and social inequities in the Greater Boston area.

What is your favorite Bill Russell moment? Let us know in the comments below!

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.