NBA commissioner Adam Silver pays tribute to the great Bill Russell

Bill Russell was a transcendent player on the court and an important figure for the United States off the court. NBA commissioner Adam Silver wanted to make as much clear Sunday after the death of the Boston Celtics legend.

Russell passed away Sunday, as his family announced via social media.

“Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports,” Silver wrote in a statement released by the NBA. “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.

“Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league,” Silver continued. “At the height of his athletic career, Bill advocated vigorously for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps. …”

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Silver went on to refer to Russell as “basketball’s Babe Ruth” given his ability to “transcend time.”

Silver was among the many NBA peers that reacted to the news of Russell death’s sending his condolences to his family. In any case, Russell will be remembered as a winner on and off the court.

He faced adversity as a black person in America during his time and overcame impossible odds to be remembered as one of the greatest players ever.

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