Barack Obama On Bill Russell’s Death: “We Lost A Giant”.
Former President Barack Obama responded to the death of Bill Russell on Twitter, Sunday, comparing the late NBA legend to Dr. Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali. Russell had already received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2011, during his first tenure as president.
“Today, we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher—both as a player and as a person,” Obama began a series of tweets about Russell.
He added: “Perhaps more than anyone else, Bill knew what it took to win and what it took to lead. On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off of it, he was a civil rights trailblazer—marching with Dr. King and standing with Muhammad Ali.
“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.”
His wife was by his side when Russell passed away on Sunday at the age of 88, according to a post on social media from his family. The 11-time NBA champion is regarded as one of the best players in basketball history. From 1956 through 1969, he was an NBA player with the Boston Celtics. He was chosen for 12 All-Star teams and received five MVP honors throughout his career.
Russell also served as the country’s first Black head coach in the top sports leagues.