Morning sports update: Bill Russell replied to Kendrick Perkins about NBA’s most athletic player debate

"In '56 I could have made the Olympics in high jump but turned it down to play basketball instead."

Bill Russell at TD Garden.
Bill Russell at TD Garden. –Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Premier League returns to action today, with two games being played without fans. Aston Villa host Sheffield United at 1 p.m. ET, and Manchester City vs. Arsenal at 3:15 p.m.

Known for its international appeal, the league’s coronavirus-era setup will include “fan walls,” walk-up music for substitutions, and other innovations to help cope with the necessary health and safety restrictions.

Bill Russell responds to Kendrick Perkins: Bill Russell led the Celtics to 11 NBA championships, and also won a 1956 gold medal with the U.S. men’s basketball team. He’s also not afraid to make his own case when the discussion of “most athletic player in NBA history” is brought up.

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After fellow former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins tweeted his opinion that LeBron James is the league’s most athletic player ever, Russell responded.

“In ’56 I could have made the Olympics in high jump but turned it down to play basketball instead,” Russell reminded Perkins. While a student at the University of San Francisco, Russell competed in several track and field events, excelling in the 400 meters and the high jump.

Russell also shared a famous video clip where he runs full-court and jumps over an opponent for a layup, noting, “In addition to my leaping ability, I was also somewhat known as an outstanding sprinter.”

Perkins reacted to Russell with a new realization: He agreed.

Russell, 86, recently penned a Boston Globe Magazine piece about the fight against racial inequality. And his usage of Twitter often goes beyond sports debates, given his recent criticism of President Donald Trump.

More from Boston.com:

Jaylen Brown took the scenic route on his morning run:

Patrice Bergeron’s message to the class of 2020:

On this day: In 2002, the U.S men’s national team (then managed by current Revolution coach Bruce Arena) defeated Mexico in the World Cup round of 16, 2-0.

Daily highlight: Bayern Munich won the German Bundesliga title on Tuesday thanks to this goal from striker Robert Lewandowski.

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