Bill Russell played for the Celtics, the Lakers’ biggest rival in the NBA. But today, the rivalry is only on the court and the respect is huge inside and outside it.
At 88 years old, the legend Bill Russell left us this Sunday, July 31st.
Russell played 14 seasons with the Boston team, winning an impressive 11 titles during those years. He also had a successful coaching career with the Celtics, winning two more titles with the franchise.
The legend was a highly respected figure and will be sorely missed in the midst of the NBA. League commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement regarding Russell’s death via the league’s Twitter account.
Several past and current Lakers members offered their condolences following the news, including Jeanie Buss, Pau Gasol and Magic Johnson.
“Bill Russell was a treasure as a player, coach and most of all as a human being. Lakers and Celtics fans will agree with that today.” Jeanie Buss.
“One of the most dominant players in NBA history. 11-time champion and one of the best to ever play the game. I’m forever honored to know him. Thank you for everything you’ve given to the game and to all of us. Rest in peace Bill Russell.” Pau Gasol.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of the greatest winner basketball has ever seen, a legend, hall of fame, mentor and friend of mine for over 30 years, Bill Russell.” Magic Johnson.
After his playing days were over, Russell remained involved in basketball as he was often seen in games during the regular season and playoffs. People like Lakers legend Kobe Bryant used to talk to Russell, asking for advice on how to be a better player on and off the court.
There aren’t enough words to describe what Russell’s loss means to the NBA and the world, but he will always be remembered for his accomplishments as a basketball player and human being.
Rest in peace, Bill Russell.