A few hours after the announcement of the death of Bill Russell, legend of the NBA and the Boston Celtics, several American personalities, very often from the world of basketball, paid tribute to him on Sunday. ” Bill stood for something much bigger than sport: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he inscribed in our league’s DNA.said NBA boss Adam Silver. At the height of his athletic career, Bill vigorously championed civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed on to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps. »
” Bill Russell was my idol. He was one of the first athletes to fight on the front lines for social justice, fairness, equality and civil rights. That’s why I admired and loved him so much “said Magic Johnson, famous leader of the Lakers in the years 1980-1990. Former Chicago Bulls star and NBA legend Michael Jordan paid tribute to a “ pioneer “, who ” paved the way and set an example for all black players who entered the league after him, including me “.
Others like Jaylen Brown, Grant Hill (Boston Celtics), and former stars Paul Pierce, Pau Gasol, Patrick Ewing and Isaiah Thomas also paid their last respects to a personality as significant as it was inspiring, in their eyes. ” His impact on basketball and society will not be forgotten “, even specified Ewing, former pivot of the Knicks.
Russell “forced us to face hard truths”, for Biden
On the side of the former presidents too, the death of Bill Russell has far from gone unnoticed. ” Today we lost a giantrecalled Barack Obama, President of the United States between 2009 and 2017. On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off the court, he was a civil rights pioneer, marching with Dr. (Martin Luther) King and standing with Muhammad Ali “. Bill Clinton insisted that Russell ” approached everything he did with determination, principle and wisdom. »
Finally, in the evening, Joe Biden, the current President of the United States, also reacted, in a press release, to the death of Bill Russell. ” America’s promise is that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated the same throughout our lives. We never offered to keep that promise, but Bill Russell made sure we never let it go, a Biden writes. (…) From his childhood in segregated Louisiana to his career in the biggest gyms at the height of the civil rights movement, Bill faced racial hostility and hatred, rooted in every aspect of American life. Yet he never gave up. Throughout his life, he forced us to face hard truths. »
For sure, and in more ways than one, the legend of Bill Russell will never be forgotten.