Read the Celtics’ statement on Bill Russell’s passing

"Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports."

Bill Russell in 2014 discusses using his platform in basketball to raise awareness for civil rights. Jack Plunkett/AP Photo

The Celtics changed their Twitter photo to a “6” to recognize Bill Russell and released a statement in his honor after the Celtics legend died at age 88 on Sunday.

Here’s the message from the organization:

“To be the greatest champion in your sport, to revolutionize the way the game is played, and to be a societal leader all at once seems unthinkable, but that is who Bill Russell was,” the Celtics said.

“Bill was a champion unlike any other in the history of team sports – an 11-time NBA champion, including winning eight consecutive titles, a five-time MVP, an Olympic Gold Medalist and the NBA’s first Black head coach. 


“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. 

“Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn his passing and celebrate his enormous legacy in basketball, Boston, and beyond.”

Here’s the statement from Wyc Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca, and the Celtics ownership group:

“Bill embodied character and commitment and he was truly one of the finest people to ever live. He will be remembered forever and deservedly so.”

Many others around the NBA expressed their condolences as well.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com