NBA, WNBA Community Remembers Bill Russell on Social Media

Bill Russell, the centerpiece of the Boston Celtics dynasty that won eight straight championships and 11 overall during his 13-year career, died Sunday at 88.

Russell was a five-time MVP, 12-time All-Star and four-time rebounding champ with the Celtics. On top of anchoring one of the NBA’s greatest dynasties and retiring as one of the greatest defensive players of all time, Russell was the first Black head coach in NBA history and an outspoken political activist. The NBA Hall of Famer, who received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2011, was at the march on Washington as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech and publicly supported the late-Muhammad Ali when the iconic boxer refused induction into the military draft in 1967.

Russell died “peacefully” with his wife, Jeannine, at his side, according to statement posted via Twitter.

“Bill’s wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us, or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded,” the family statement said. “And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last, and lasting, win for our beloved #6.”

Two years ago, the NBA legend contributed a powerful essay in SLAM’s special issue devoted to social justice, where he detailed his fight against racism throughout his life. Read here.

The entire basketball community from legends such as Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to current players including Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum and more took to social media to pay their respects to the late and great Bill Russell.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:

Stephen Curry:

Boston Celtics:

Charlotte Hornets:

Shaquille O’Neal:

Charles Barkley:

Magic Johnson:

Paul Pierce:

Jayson Tatum:

Marcus Smart:

Dwyane Wade:

James Harden:


Photos via Getty Images.