A Life Well Lived: Celebrities React To The Passing Of Basketball Legend Bill Russell

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Celebrities react to the passing of basketball legend and 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell who passed at the age of 88.

Source: MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images / Getty

Yesterday the world lost an icon and sports legend Bill Russell . Bill was a pioneer in the game of basketball he was a center for the Boston Celtics from 1956 to 1969. In the 13 years, Bill won 11 championship rings with his last two coming as the first Black coach in any major U.S. sport. Outside the court, Bill endured and overcame extreme racism every year he played. Russell was a difference maker in sports the same way Jackie Robinson was for baseball. His daughter reminded people of what exactly he fought for and endured to Newsweek .

“From boycotting a 1961 exhibition game to unmask too-long-tolerated discrimination, to leading Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in the combustible wake of Medgar Evans’ assassination, to decades of activism ultimately recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor that he intended would disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example that, though never his humble intention, will forever inspire teamwork selflessness and thoughtful change.”

Your reminder that Bill Russell’s jersey retirement ceremony in 1972 was behind closed doors because of his animosity towards Celtics fans and the racism Bill and his family endured while he was a member of the Celtics. https://t.co/Hwq6xRWgEz

— Above Average Peso (@PBSImpulse9) July 31, 2022

Celebrities React To The Passing Of Basketball Legend Bill Russell.

When the news of Bill Russell’s passing was released celebrities, politicians, and everyone in between took to social media to pay their respects. You can read the post below.

For decades, Bill endured insults and vandalism, but never let it stop him from speaking up for what’s right. I learned so much from the way he played, the way he coached, and the way he lived his life.

Michelle and I send our love to Bill’s family, and everyone who admired him.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 31, 2022

Michael Jordan on the passing of Bill Russell: pic.twitter.com/kQfRPgUoAB

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 31, 2022

Bill Russell was a legendary player and coach, and an even better person. He approached everything he did with determination, principle, and wisdom. I will always be grateful for the chance to call him my friend. pic.twitter.com/CmMVzLJUJJ

— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) July 31, 2022

Bill Russell was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. Once called out of the blue because he thought I looked sad on TV…best pep talk of my life. RIP

— Jon Stewart (@jonstewart) July 31, 2022

What a trailblazer who transcended sports in influencing our national and global landscape.

A champion in many ways that matter.

Thank you and rest in power, Sir #BillRussell . pic.twitter.com/KTG9BIJwWW

— Be A King (@BerniceKing) July 31, 2022

Bill Russell was the epitome of a champion, in every sense of the word. He was an innovator who broke through barriers and for all of his extraordinary successes on the court, he was just as impactful off of it. (1/2) @RealBillRussell pic.twitter.com/LUGwc8t59f

— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) July 31, 2022

Bill Russell was a treasure as a player, coach and especially as a human being. @Lakers and @celtics fans can agree on this today. 😔💜💚😔 https://t.co/TTDfp9w8Zq

— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) July 31, 2022

My thoughts about Bill Russell passing away…. I am working on an deeper thought provoking article tonight as I process what just happened. pic.twitter.com/M69pXNkaC0

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) August 1, 2022

The world lost a legend with the passing of Bill Russell. His impact on basketball and society will not be forgotten. He handled every adversity with dignity and grace, and walked away a champion. My condolences to his family and those blessed enough to call him a friend.

— Patrick Ewing (@CoachEwing33) July 31, 2022

So sad to hear of the passing of one of the all time greats…sending love and condolences to the Russell family.🙏🏾💚 https://t.co/svL2dlXT8v

— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) July 31, 2022

My deepest condolences to the family, loved ones and the @NBA community on the loss of the greatest champion we’ve ever known: BILL RUSSELL. An activist, a pioneer, a humanitarian. He made the world better for us all.#RIPCHAMPION

— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 31, 2022

Bill Russell gave so much to the city of Boston—as the greatest sports champion of all time & a role model fighting for justice, equality & labor rights.

We owe him a debt of gratitude & we will miss him.

— Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@wutrain) July 31, 2022

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

— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) July 31, 2022

Bill Russell was the most powerful ambassador of the NBA. I held him in the highest regard and tried to build on the groundwork laid by him and his generation of players. Thank you, Bill, for leading the way and giving us such a high bar to shoot at.

— David Robinson (@DavidtheAdmiral) July 31, 2022

Thank you for everything! R.I.P Legend 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/tn2iGsArav

— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) July 31, 2022

I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of the greatest winner the game of basketball has ever seen, a legend, hall of famer, mentor and my friend for over 30 years, Bill Russell. 💔 pic.twitter.com/iiSkVq2kdn

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 31, 2022

A legend. A leader. An inspiration on and off the court. Bill Russell embodied the best of America. May he Rest in Peace.

— Dan Rather (@DanRather) July 31, 2022

Rest In Peace 🕊thank you for paving the way and inspiring so many Today is a sad day but also great day to celebrate his legacy and what he stood for 💚 pic.twitter.com/kvDaIsjpGG

— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) July 31, 2022

The world lost a legend with the passing of Bill Russell. His impact on basketball and society will not be forgotten. He handled every adversity with dignity and grace, and walked away a champion. My condolences to his family and those blessed enough to call him a friend.

— Patrick Ewing (@CoachEwing33) July 31, 2022

We lost two greats. Two people who changed their respective games.

Two Black Icons.

Rest easy Nichelle Nichols and Bill Russell. And thank you. 🖖🏾🏀 pic.twitter.com/AWyLdBDBlO

— Jill Hopkins (@Jillhopkins) July 31, 2022

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