His impact on the game can still be felt to this day. And many of the stars of basketball owe their career success to the sacrifices that Russell had to make both on and off the court during his career.
Charlotte Hornets owner and all-time great shooting guard Michael Jordan (seen above being honored in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in February) seems to clearly realize that, offering a heartfelt tribute to Russell on Sunday after news of his passing.
“Bill Russell was a pioneer- as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first black head coach and as an activist. He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend. My condolences to his family and may he rest in peace.”
A statement from Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan on the passing of NBA legend Bill Russell. pic.twitter.com/RdYcnuCrmb
— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) July 31, 2022
Russell’s impact went so much further than just basketball, playing a big role in how the public saw Black athletes both at the time and for years to come.
On the court, he was undoubtedly one of the most successful players for their era in the history of basketball, winning 11 championship rings during his time with the Boston Celtics.
The reactions from the sports world after this unfortunate news has been great, with many detailing the exceptional accomplishments that Russell has done throughout his life.
Jordan’s statement summed up Bill Russell’s legacy to a tee. Russell’s impact will be missed by the basketball world for years to come.
[Charlotte Hornets; photo from Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports]