Meet Karen Russell, Bill Russell’s Daughter

Karen Russell (born 1962) is a 62 year-old daughter of Bill Russell, the former American professional basketball player, and his wife, Rose Swisher. Karen is also a lawyer and advocate for black rights. 

Though Karen Russell is known as an activist, she gained recognition as Bill Russell’s daughter. Bill Russell was an American professional basketball player who made his professional debut with the Bolton Celtics. He was notable for being the first black player to play for the Bolton Celtics. The former NBA player accomplished a lot in his basketball career and was the first black coach in NBA history.

In this article is everything to be known about his daughter, Karen, and how his many firsts rubbed off on her.

Summary of Karen Russell’s Biography 

  • Full Name: Karen Kenyatta Russell
  • Gender: Female
  • Date of Birth: 1962
  • Karen Russell’s Age: 62 Years Old
  • Ethnicity: African American
  • Nationality: American
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Karen Russell’s Parents: Bill Russell and Rose Swisher
  • Siblings: Williams Felton Jr. and Jacob Russell
  • Famous for: Being an advocate for Black rights and the daughter of the former American professional basketball player, Bill Russell and Rose Swisher
  • Karen Russell’s Instagram: @karenkenyattarussell
  • Twitter: @Karen_Russell

How Old is Karen Russell?

Karen Kenyatta Russell is 62 years old. She was born in 1962 in the United States. The activist is of African American descent and enjoys the privileges of an American citizen. At the age of eleven, her parents got divorced, but it is not clear which of them got custody of Karen and her siblings at the time.

Her father was allegedly inspired to give her the middle name Kenyatta after he visited Kenya. At the time of his visit, the country was in the heat of its fight for independence, with the fearless activist, the late Jomo Kenyetta, at the forefront. He returned with the determination to bring about a change in racism and also named his daughter after the activist.

She has two brothers, who also gained recognition for their relationship with their father. Her oldest brother, Williams Felton Jr., was born in 1957 and lived a life away from the spotlight. Unfortunately, he died after a long battle with cancer in 2016, at the age of 58.

Karen Russell’s immediate older brother, Jacob, was born in 1959 and also followed the same path as his older brother. He keeps a low profile, and as such not much is known about him. Jacob is reportedly married and living with his family while he maintains a low profile.

Karen Russell’s Father Was A Legend

Karen Russell’s father, Bill Russell, was a legendary professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics. He was born on February 12, 1934, in West Monroe, Louisiana. The former NBA player was born to Charles and Katie Russell. Bill moved to Oakland, California, during World War II and grew up facing the cruelty of racism.

Bill Russell attended McCymonds High School in Oakland. He earned his degree at San Francisco University. The ex-basketball player was skilled in different sports as a child, including jumping and running. He started his career in Basketball as a freshman during high school.

Subsequently, Bill Russell developed his skills in basketball, became famous in high school for his defensive style, and also played basketball at the university. In 1956, he was drafted by the Boston Celtics and played with them till 1966. He also played with the United States men’s national team in various tournaments.

Karen Russell’s father later became the Boston Celtics coach in 1966 and held the position till 1969. After his retirement from the position of coach, he began to do commentary on the Game of The Week. He also hosted other shows. At the age of 88, on July 31, 2022, he passed on.

Karen Russell was very fond of her father while he was alive and attended events with him. She used to uploadshis pictures on her social media handles and visited their father’s statue at Boston City Hall Plaza in Boston.

Who Is Karen Russell’s Mother?

Karen Russell’s mother, Rose Swisher, was the first wife of Bill Russell. Though Rose had been in the spotlight after she married Bill, she started living away from the spotlight after she divorced him. On this note, many details about her are not known.

Rose Swisher was Bill Russell’s college sweetheart, which means that they met while in college. They got married in 1956 and maintained a descent homefront until their divorce in 1973, 17 years later. Rose died in 2014 at the age of 78.

After Bill Russell divorced Rose, he got married to Dorothy Anstett in 1977, whom he divorced in 1980. He later married Marylin Nault in 1996 and divorced her in 2009. His last marriage was to Jeannine Fiorito in 2020, and he was with her till his death.

Karen Russell Faced Racism As a Child

Karen Russell grew up in an environment where blacks did not matter. According to her, she and her brothers did not experience open racist actions or remarks because of how successful their father was. This notwithstanding, she still faced the occasionally veiled racist attacks and remarks.

She revealed that at the age of three or four, she went for a walk with a white family friend at Marblehead. Along the line, a white man walked by, and she smiled at him, but he in turn made a cruel racist remark that she would understand much later.

Karen also went on to disclose that she did not know if the white folks in school became her friends because they liked her or because of her father’s fame. This was because she had a posh house with a pool. While at college, she was still not left out of the actions and mean words of racists.

She Earned A Degree In Law

Karen Russell grew up in an affluent and famous family and as such, there is no doubt that she got quality education. There are no records of her early education, but she attended Mercer Island High School. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and government from Georgetown University. Karen further went to the Havard Law School where she earned a Juris Doctorate.

Bill Russell’s Daughter Is Also An Activist

Karen Russell has a lot on her plate, from being a journalist to a lawyer and an activist. Having graduated with a Juris Doctor in law, she is a certified lawyer, but it is not known if she practices the profession. The lawyer is a media person who has made contributions to various media publications of several media companies, including the New York Times Magazine.

Karen Russell grew up in the heat of racism and watched her parents embark on the quest for equality. When she was just a year old, they participated in the historic march that took place in Washington D.C, on August 28, 1963, to listen to Martin Luther King give his I Have a Dream speech.

Seeing the sacrifices that her parents made, she decided to continue in the fight for the rights of color and race. Karen Russell has given this much dedication and is a strong supporter of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. She also holds a mini-virtual course to sensitize the vulnerable about their rights. She believes that racism is alive and well in the USA.

The activist has demonstrated her commitment and will not relent until she achieves the necessary equality. She has also worked as a Development Director for Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights.

Where is Karen Russell Now?

Though Karen Russell is the only child of Bill Russell who is in the spotlight, she did not disclose many details about herself, like her personal life. It is unclear if she is married or single at this time. However, she might be married and have decided to shelter the details of her husband from the media. Her marital status remains questioned till she reveals the identity of her husband.


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