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Bill Russell

7/12/2011, 4:17 p.m.

Bill Russell

Boston’s City Hall Plaza has been chosen as the site for a proposed statue of Celtics basketball legend Bill Russell, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other officials announced Monday.

Three artists were named as finalists to design the statue. They will present their designs to Russell himself and the Bill Russell Legacy Committee in the fall.

The committee said the site was chosen because of its location near the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall and other tourist attractions. Officials said Russell, 77, and the committee approved the site for the statute to commemorate the former Celtic as a sports champion, human rights leader and youth mentoring advocate.

The committee said it will seek private donations for the statue and will launch a public fundraising campaign in the fall to coincide with the selection of the winning design.

Russell led the Celtics to 11 league championships in 13 seasons.

President Barack Obama suggested Boston build a statue of Russell when he awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom in February. Obama said he hoped one day children would look up to a statue “built not only to Bill Russell the player but Bill Russell the man.”