Skip to main content

Paul Pierce Delivers Emotional Reaction To Bill Russell's Passing: "Thank You For Being A Trailblazer, Pioneer. Thank You For Setting The Bar, For Your Kind Words Of Wisdom."

Paul Pierce Delivers Emotional Reaction To Bill Russell's Passing: "Thank You For Being A Trailblazer, Pioneer. Thank You For Setting The Bar, For Your Kind Words Of Wisdom."

The NBA world lost a legend today, and both fans and players around the country are speaking out about how his life and career as a basketball superstar inspired them in their own lives.

On Sunday, Paul Pierce (who was also a Celtic) gave his own reaction, posting this emotional message on Twitter:

Russell, 88, passed away peacefully this weekend. According to a statement released by his family, he was surrounded by loved ones in the hours leading up to his death.

Bill Russell, the most prolific winner in American sports history, passed away peacefully today at age 88, with his wife, Jeannine, by his side. Arrangements for his memorial service will be announced soon.

Bill's two state championships in high school offered a glimmer of the incomparable run of pure team accomplishment to come: twice an NCAA champion; captain of a gold-medal-winning US Olympic team; 11 times an NBA champion; and at the helm for two NBA championships as the first black head coach of any North American professional sports team.

Along the way, Bill earned a string of individual awards that stands unprecedented as it went unmentioned by him. In 2009, the award for the NBA Finals most valuable player was renamed after two-time Hall of Famer as the "Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award"... But for all the winning, Bill's understanding of the struggle is what illuminated his life. From boycotting a 1961 exhibition game to unmask too-long-tolerated discrimination, to leading Mississippi's first integrated basketball camp in the combustible wake of Medgar Evans' assassination, to decades of activism ultimately recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor that he intended would disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example that, though never his humble intention, will forever inspire teamwork, selflessness and thoughtful change...

Russell is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players ever. At the very least, he was a winner who elevated everyone in his circle.

In 13 years in the NBA, Russell averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on 44% shooting. He was a 12x All-Star, 11x Champion, and 5x NBA MVP.