Former United States President Barack Obama, former NBA players Michael Jordan and Earvin Magic Johnson and former tennis player Billie Jean King expressed their condolences on the death of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell at the age of 88.
“Today we lost a giant. As tall as Bill Russell was, his legacy is much higher, both as a player and on a human level,” Barack Obama wrote on his Twitter account.
Russell, born in Monroe (Louisiana) in 1934, won eleven NBA titles in thirteen seasons with the Boston Celtics and was one of the American athletes who had the most weight in the fight for equality.
He was the first African-American coach in the history of American sports and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama in 2011.
THE FAREWELL OF MICHAEL JORDAN
“Bill Russell was a pioneer, as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first African-American coach, as an activist,” said Michael Jordan, six-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls, in a message published by the franchise that owns, the Charlotte Hornets.
“He set an example for every African-American player who came into the league after him, including me. The world lost a legend. My condolences to the family and may he rest in peace,” he added.
MAGIC JOHNSON, HEARTBROKEN
Jordan was joined by Magic Johnson, who had a strong bond of friendship with Bill Russell.
“It breaks my heart to learn of the death of the greatest winner basketball history has ever seen, a legend, a Hall of Famer, a mentor and a friend for over 30 years, Bill Russell,” he said. Earvin Magic Johnson, who played for the Lakers from 1979 to 1991.
Messages of praise for Bill Russell also came from the world of tennis.
AN EXAMPLE FOR BILLIE JEAN KING
“Bill Russell was a unique athlete-activist who made everyone around him better. He was a pioneer and paved the way for many. I admired him all my life and he had a huge influence on my career. He was a leader, a teammate and a born champion », was the message published by former tennis player Billie Jean King.
Just as Bill Russell did during his career, with concrete gestures to protest against discrimination, Billie Jean King is one of the great figures of American sports in the fight for gender equality.
Particularly heartfelt was the message sent by the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver.
“Bill Russell was the greatest champion in team sports. The countless accolades he received in his storied career with the Boston Celtics, including a record eleven titles and five MVP awards, only partially explain Bill’s immense impact on our league and society,” Adam Silver said in a statement. for the NBA.
“Bill fought for something much bigger than the sport: the values of equality, respect and inclusion that he wrote in the DNA of our league. At the height of his sports career, Bill fought vigorously for civil rights and social justice and created a legacy that has passed on to generations of NBA players who have followed in his footsteps,” he added. EFE