Presidents Obama, Clinton, Biden reflect on passing of Bill Russell
However, the influence of Bill Russell extends far beyond the hardwood. His work as a civil rights activist — from backing Muhamad Ali in his refusal not to fight in the Vietnam war to marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — made him fans around the nation.
Three of them are presidents, Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
“The promise of America is that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. We’ve never fully lived up to that promise, but Bill Russell made sure we never walked away from it...
“Bill Russell is one of the greatest athletes in our history – an all-time champion of champions, and a good man and great American who did everything he could to deliver the promise of America for all Americans.”
Obama and Clinton expressed their sadness at his passing through social media.
Today, we lost a giant.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 31, 2022
As tall as Bill Russell stood, his legacy rises far higher—both as a player and as a person.
For decades, Bill endured insults and vandalism, but never let it stop him from speaking up for what’s right. I learned so much from the way he played, the way he coached, and the way he lived his life.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 31, 2022
Michelle and I send our love to Bill’s family, and everyone who admired him.
Russell has fans everywhere, as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put eloquently.