Rose Swisher is the former wife of NBA legend Bill Russell. Russell was an American professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association from 1956 to 1969. Swisher was the first of Russell’s four wives.

Swisher and Russell got married on December 9, 1956. They were college sweethearts who were together until they divorced in 1973. They shared three children –  Jacob Russell, William Russell Jr, Karen Russell.

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Rose Swisher hadn’t revealed much about herself publicly. She led a secluded life, away from the spotlight. Karen Russell, her daughter, is, however, a television analyst and a lawyer.

After their divorce, Russell married Dorothy Anstett in 1977. Anstett was crowned Miss USA in 1968. Even though the couple divorced in 1980, their relationship was engulfed with controversy because Anstett was white. 

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Russell married his third wife, Marilyn Nault, in 1996 and they were married until her death in January 2009. Russell was married to Jeannine Russell until his death in 2022.

Rose Swisher died at the age of 78 on September 11, 2014.

Russell was one of the first big earners in NBA basketball during his career. His rookie deal in 1956 was for $24,000, which was just slightly less than the $25,000 earned by top earner Bob Cousy.

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Unlike Russell, other Celtics of the time had to work during the winter to maintain their standard of life. Heinsohn sold insurance, Gene Guarilia was a professional guitarist, Cousy ran a basketball camp, and Auerbach invested in plastics and a Chinese restaurant.

When Wilt Chamberlain became the first NBA player to be paid $100,000 in 1965, Russell went to Auerbach and requested $100,001, which he soon secured.