NBA legends remember Bill Russell – one of the best basketball players in history

Bill Russell, Boston legend and the most decorated player in NBA history, has died at the age of 88. This was announced yesterday, July 31, by his wife Jeannine. The news came as a big shock not only to the basketball community, but to many beyond. Now social networks are filled with touching messages that Russell’s fans leave in memory of him. This is how he is remembered by his friends and all those who had a chance to communicate with the legend during his lifetime.

“An example for every black player.” 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell dies

“Bill Russell was my idol. I looked up to him on and off the court. His success was undeniable; he was dominant and great, winning 11 NBA titles. Off the court, Bill Russell paved the way for guys like me.

He was one of the first athletes to be at the forefront of the fight for social justice, equality, equality and civil rights. That is why I admired and loved him so much. Throughout our friendship, he constantly reminded me that everything should be better in the black community.” – Magic Johnson

Bill Russell

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

“Bill Russell was a trailblazer—as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first black head coach, and as an activist. He paved the way and became an example for all the black players who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.” – Michael Jordan

“Thank you for being a trailblazer, a pioneer. Thanks for setting the bar. Thanks for your kind words and guidance. Thanks for your laugh. I can talk all day about what you meant to me. Today is a sad day for the entire NBA, you will be missed forever. I will never forget this day when we listened to your stories like children by the fire,” – NBA champion in the Celtics Paul Pierce.

Photo: From Pierce’s personal archive

“Bill knew better than anyone what it takes to win and what it takes to lead. On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Outside, he was a civil rights pioneer, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. and standing next to Muhammad Ali.

Bill has endured abuse and vandalism for decades, but that has never stopped him from standing up for what is right. I learned a lot from the way he played, the way he coached and the way he lived his life.” – Former US President Barack Obama

Bill Russell and Barack Obama

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

“Over the years, I have had the opportunity to sit and talk for hours with many Celtics legends: John Havlicek, KC Jones, Sam Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, Joe Joe White, Red Auerbach and many others. Their stories often led to talk about the great Bill Russell. The impact he had on those with whom he was so close is impressive. But the impact he had on so many people around the world is legendary.

Bill took me to Sacramento in 1989. I got to spend a lot of time with him on the golf course and in his office, as a lot hit our team that season. His mentorship, friendship and laughter helped me get through a difficult period in my career. I will always remember his laugh. Every time I see a picture of him, I hear him,” recalls two-time NBA champion Danny Ainge.

Bill Russell

Photo: Otto Greule/Getty Images

“Bill Russell drafted me. He was my first coach in the NBA. For six months I saw him every day. He lived on my street, and it was my duty to either give him a lift to training or after training. I spent a lot of time with him and it was an incredible experience. He was a great mentor.” – Kenny Smith

“Rest in peace. Thank you for leading the way and inspiring so many. Today is a sad day, but also a great day to celebrate your legacy and what you stand for. I am honored to spend time with you. Thank you for everything you’ve done.” – Celtics Young Star Jaylen Brown

Photo: From the personal archive of Brown

“Bill Russell was an activist athlete who made everyone around him better. He was the first in his profession and became an example for many. I have admired him all my life and he has had a huge impact on my career. He was an absolute leader, an absolute team player, and an absolute champion.” – Tennis legend Billie Jean King

“Bill Russell was one of the most kind and considerate people I have ever met. One day he called me out of the blue because he thought I looked sad on TV… The best encouraging conversation I’ve ever had. RIP,” popular comedian Jon Stewart.

“I remember most of all his competitive spirit. With him, everything was a victory. I have always admired him. I don’t know what he saw in me, but he took me under his wing and made sure that I was properly directed as a rookie, ”- two-time NBA champion and former Russell teammate Don Cheney, who also managed to play under his leadership.

“I treasured my friendship with Bill and was delighted when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I often called him Basketball Babe Ruth for the way he overcame time. Bill was an overall winner and consummate teammate, and his impact on the NBA will always be felt. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife Jeannine, his family and his many friends.” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

“It was a great honor for me to spend time with Bill Russell. He was a walking encyclopedia. I remember him once saying, “Basketball is what I do for a living, but it’s not necessarily who I am.” His legacy will never be forgotten!” – Three-time NBA champion with the Lakers, James Worthy.

“Bill was my childhood idol. To meet and work with him at the 1986 Goodwill Games was a breathtaking sight! This marked the beginning of our 34-year friendship. Together we were included in the FIBA ​​Hall of Fame. I loved listening to his stories. Condolences to his wife Jeannine. Rest in peace, my friend, ”- a former titled basketball player, and now the vice president of Phoenix, Ann Meyers.

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