Barack Obama, Michael Jordan Among Celebrities Reacting to Bill Russell’s Death

by Patrick Norton

Bill Russell certainly lived a full life. However, his passing on Sunday morning at the age of 88 still represents a great tragedy. But the loss of Russell’s presence within the NBA community creates a wonderful moment for figures and legends to eulogize the hoops legend. The stories and tributes to the late legend continue to pour through, but some notable folks have eloquently worded emotional goodbyes.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama posted a thread to Twitter paying homage to Russell. Obama points out, “His legacy rises far higher – both as a player and as a person.” The former president adds, “On the court, he was the greatest champion in basketball history. Off of it, he was a civil rights trailblazer—marching with Dr. King and standing with Muhammad Ali.”

In addition to Obama’s kind words, basketball legend and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets Michael Jordan chimed in with a statement released through the team. Jordan mentions, “He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me.” Jordan calls Bill Russell “a pioneer”, mentioning, “The world has lost a legend.”

Outpouring Tributes from Active NBA Players, More for Bill Russell

While Obama and Jordan certainly make up the most influential men to comment, others have paid their respects. In a series of tweets, Jaylen Brown of the Celtics offered condolences to Russell’s family. Singing a similar tune as Jordan, Brown says, “Thank you for paving the way and inspiring so many.” In a follow up post, Brown said, “I’m honored to be able to have spent time with you. Thank you for everything you stood for you.”

Russell spent 13 seasons playing in the NBA, all with the Boston Celtics. Celtics forward Grant Williams paid homage with a tweet saying, “R.I.P. Bill Russell. You allowed me to be in the position I am in today and you changed not only the league but the world.”

The impact resonates with former head coach and current Boston executive Brad Stevens. Stevens said, “So very sad to hear about Bill Russell today. He set the standard – on and off the court. RIP to an all-time winner, teammate and person.”

Away from the basketball world, country legend Darius Rucker also paid tribute the basketball icon, offering thanks for his humanitarian efforts. Rucker finished his post with, “One of the all time great human being.”