Reactions to the death of NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell

Sports

Reaction from the basketball world and beyond on the death of NBA great and 11-time champion Bill Russell:

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“Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports. The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics — including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards — only begin to tell the story of Bill’s immense impact on our league and broader society.” — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

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“Today, we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher — both as a player and as a person.” — President Barack Obama said on Twitter.

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“Rest in peace Bill Russell you were everything we all aspired to be, your winning spirit will live forever my friend. Thank you for your words of wisdom.” — Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas said on Twitter.

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“RIP Bill Russell, a giant in every sense of the word – athletic, civil rights, altruistic – the whole lot RIP champ!” — Tennis great Martina Navratilova said on Twitter.

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“To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was. Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports — an 11-time NBA champion, including winning eight consecutive titles, a five-time MVP, an Olympic Gold Medalist and the NBA’s first Black head coach.” — the Boston Celtics said in a statement.

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“He was one of the first athletes on the front line fighting for social justice, equity, equality, and civil rights. That’s why I admired and loved him so much. Over the course of our friendship, he always reminded me about making things better in the Black community.” — Hall of Famer Magic Johnson tweeted.

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“Thanku for being a trailblazer, pioneer Thanku for setting the bar, for ur kind words of wisdom, Thanku for that great laugh u had. I can go on all day about what u meant to me. Today is a sad day for the NBA family u will be forever missed #6” — Celtics great Paul Pierce said on Twitter.

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“Bill Russell was a pioneer — as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first Black head coach and as an activist. He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend … may he rest in peace.” — Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan said in a statement.

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“Bill Russell was bigger than basketball, even though he was one of the greatest players of all times. He stood for Civil and human rights before it was trendy, in fact when he did it, it was risky! A true giant on and off the court, May he Rest In Peace and Power!” — Reverend Al Sharpton said on Twitter.

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“R.I.P Bill Russell. You allowed me to be in the position I am in today and you changed not only the league but the world. Forever 6.” — Celtics player Grant Williams said on Twitter.

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