Monday, September 12, 2022

Celtics icon Bill Russell honored at Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony

NBA legends Jerry West and Alonzo Mourning honored Celtics icon Bill Russell at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony Saturday in Springfield, MA.

While a total of 13 individuals were officially inducted into the Hall of Fame class of 2022, West and Mourning took the stage to kick-off the night by paying tribute to Russell, who passed away on July 31 at the age of 88.
"To be considered among the very best, you must be willing to lay it on the line against the very best," West said. "I was lucky enough to learn this first hand when facing off against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics. Bill was the ultimate competitor on the court and a remarkable human being off of it."
West, a 1980 Hall of Fame inductee and 14-time All-Star (not to mention the current NBA logo), had many battles against Russell as part of the historic rivalry between the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

Morning, a 2014 Hall of Fame inductee, presented Russell with his Hall of Fame ring back in 2019 after the two-time inductee declined to attend the 1975 enshrinement ceremony or accept his ring in an attempt to have those of color be recognized by the Hall of Fame. In 2000, Russell presented the Defensive Player of the Year award to Morning.
"Bill had a deep love for people," Mourning said. "That drove his passion for civil and human rights. For many, his life and legacy are north star -- a beacon of inspiration and hope. As a role model with great principles, the mentorship and friendship Bill provided are all things that never be quantified or forgotten. We will deeply miss our mentor, our friend, his gigantic smile and infectious laugh."
The NBA will also do their part to honor Russell's impact as a player and social activist this upcoming season by making his iconic No. 6 jersey the first league-wide retired number in history.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

No comments:

Post a Comment