Barack Obama pays tribute to NBA legend and civil rights activist Bill Russell


Former President Obama paid tribute to civil rights activist and NBA legend Bill Russell, who died at age 88.

Obama said:

Bill Russell’s basketball career and achievements will never be touched. Michael Jordan and LeBron James have not won as many championships together as Bill Russell. As immense as his basketball legacy is, Russell spent most of his life fighting for civil rights.

Former President Obama presents Bill Russell with the Medal of Freedom:

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Here’s Bill Russell’s oral history for the Library of Congress’ Civil Rights Project:

Bill Russell spent his life mentoring others and giving back. People like Russell are irreplaceable, but they leave a legacy of lessons that we can all learn and implement to make our nation stronger and the world a better place.

In the 1960s, Bill Russell once said, “I’d rather die for something than live for nothing:”

At a time when the rights and freedoms of so many in the United States are being jeopardized and taken away, Bill Russell is a role model for the battles that are both underway and yet to come.


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