Two Boston city councilors have joined the ranks of those supporting construction of a statue of Celtics legend Bill Russell in the city.
Councilors John R. Connolly and Ayanna Pressley have filed a nonbinding resolution calling for the Council to join "in the chorus of support for the raising of a statue commemorating Bill Russell and all of his accomplishments, both on and off the court."
The resolution also asks that the council call for "philanthropic organizations, local businesses, and civic leaders to support this endeavor," according to a copy of the resolution posted on Pressley's Facebook site.
President Obama, speaking in mid-February at a White House ceremony in which Russell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, said he hoped Boston would build a statue to Russell, who was the backbone of a Celtics dynasty in the 1950s and 1960s.
For years, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the Celtics owners, Russell's former teammates, and many fans have supported the idea, but it has never made it past the discussion stages, the Globe has reported. Menino has said that Obama's comments would kickstart efforts to raise several hundred thousand dollars in private donations needed to erect the statue.
While he brought the city 11 championship banners, Russell had a fraught relationship with Boston. He once called it a "flea market of racism." But Menino said Russell told him at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that the city had become "much more tolerant and diverse."
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