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Outside of his incredible NBA career, Bill was also an outspoken civil rights activist. 

“From leading Mississippi’s first basketball camp integrated in 1961 to denounce long-standing discrimination to boycotting an exhibition game of 1961 to do so, I have been a leader in Mississippi’s most volatile aftermath. Medgar [Evers’] assassination, to decades of activism ultimately recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010,” the Twitter statement continued. Bill called out injustice with an indignity that would cause disruption to the status-quo and set powerful examples that will, although never being his humble intentions, inspire collaboration, selflessness, and thoughtful change. 

This statement expressed gratitude to his supporters and encouraged them all to continue the message. The statement concluded that “We hope everyone can find a way to speak out with Bill’s uncompromising and dignified commitment to principle,” That would be one final, lasting win for #6.” 

After his announcement, the Boston Celtics were also affected. shared a Twitter statementIn memory of their loved coach and star.  

In part, they wrote that Bill Russell had the potential to become the most beloved champion in his sport and revolutionize how it is played. “Bill Russell‘s DNA is woven through every element of the Celtics organization, from the relentless pursuit of excellence, to the celebration of team rewards over individual glory, to a commitment to social justice and civil rights off the court. As we remember Bill Russell’s legacy, in Boston and elsewhere, our thoughts and prayers are with them.