The man who won 11 NBA Championships just made a huge statement.
A photo of Bill Russell, arguably the greatest Celtic to ever touch the hardwood, surfaced where he’s seen kneeling with his Presidential Medal of Freedom hanging from his neck. He appears to be offering his support to NBA, NFL and now MLB athletes who chose to take a knee before the playing of the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump criticism. While the tweet was posted Monday afternoon and has over 5,000 retweets and likes, it comes from an unverified account and has been fairly inactive since it was created in early September.
The picture came with the caption “Proud to take a knee, and to stand tall against social injustice, with the hashtags #takeaknee #medaloffreedom #NFL #BillRussell #MSNBC.”
The Hall of Famer was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award presented in the United States, by President Obama in 2011. Russell’s social justice roots go as far back as the Ali Summit, where he was photographed sitting amongst other powerful and influential Black athletes after Muhammad Ali refused to enlist in the army.