NBA Legend Arrested

NBA hall of famer Bill Russell walks off the field after throwing out the first pitch prior to the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field. Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Russell is a 12-time NBA All-Star, 11-time NBA champion and 5-time MVP. He can now add an arrest to his illustrious resume.

This past week, the 79-year-old was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a loaded gun was found in his luggage. He attempted to get through security carrying a .38-caliber pistol. The gun was confiscated and he was released.

After retiring in 1969, Russell coached the Boston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings. In 2011, Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civil honor. A statue of the living legend is expected to be unveiled on November 1 in Boston City Hall Plaza.

The NBA’s first African-American head coach lives on Mercer Island, a city about a mile and a half east of Seattle.

From the White House, following his honor:

“Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball. Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times.  The first African American to coach in the NBA—indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States—Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights.  He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality.”


  • Michael Jacobs

    Russell is an old guy. He probably didn’t realize it was in his carry on bag. Does this mean that his new statue will have to be altered by putting a gun in his left hand instead of a basketball?

    • Matthew Hochberg

      Not at all. From everything I have heard, he is a great guy. Still, however, bringing a loaded gun into an international airport is not too great…