Phoenix Suns, Mercury Release Statement on Death of Bill Russell

The Phoenix Suns have released the following statement on the unfortunate passing of NBA and Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell.

“The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury join the entire basketball community in mourning the loss of the legendary Bill Russell. The greatest winner in the history of basketball and a trailblazer as the NBA’s first Black head coach, his impact on society extended far beyond the court He used his platform to fight injustice and advocate for civil rights, creating a legacy that is imprinted on our league and carried on by players today.

Our entire organization will always be grateful for the time he so graciously gave to us over the years. He was kind and generous, and today our thoughts and condolences are with his family and many friends, including our own Ann Meyers Drysdale.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also released the following statement:

“Bill Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports. The countless accolades that he earned for his storied career with the Boston Celtics – including a record 11 championships and five MVP awards – only begin to tell the story of Bill’s immense impact on our league and broader society.

“Bill stood for something much bigger than sports: the values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion that he stamped into the DNA of our league. At the height of his athletic career, Bill vigorously advocated for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed down to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps Through the taunts, threats and unthinkable adversity, Bill rose above it all and remained true to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

“For nearly 35 years since Bill completed his trailblazing career as the league’s first Black head coach, we were fortunate to see him at every major NBA event, including the NBA Finals, where he presented the Bill Russell Trophy to the Finals MVP.

“I cherished my friendship with Bill and was thrilled when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I often called him basketball’s Babe Ruth for his he transcended time. Bill was the ultimate winner and consummate teammate, and his influence on the NBA will be felt forever. We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Jeannine, his family and his many friends.”

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