Celtics

MJ on Russell's passing: 'The world has lost a legend'

Celtics

Sunday's news that Celtics legend and Hall of Famer Bill Russell passed away at the age of 88 has inspired outpourings of condolences and appreciation from every corner of the NBA world.

Former Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan added his voice to the chorus Sunday afternoon, releasing the following statement:

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.

Michael Jordan on Bill Russell

Russell's NBA track record of winning is unparalleled. In 13 seasons as a player, he won 11 championships and five MVP awards, as well as earned 12 All-Star selections. His final two titles came as a player-coach after becoming the first Black coach of any North American pro sports team in 1966.

Jordan certainly had his own share of success as a player, winning six titles and an NBA-record six Finals MVP awards, an honor which was eventually named after Russell in 2009.

As Jordan alluded to in his statement, Russell was also a fierce champion of civil rights as a player and after retirement. In 2011, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

And so Jordan's assertion that "the world has lost a legend" is true in countless ways. But the reverence with which so many pillars of sport and society speak of Russell shows that his legacy will live forever.

 
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