NBA legend Bill Russell arrested in airport for carrying gun, apologizes later


bill-russellNBA legend and ambassador Bill Russell got arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last week after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage.

Russell was arrested as he attempted to go through security. Airport spokesman Perry Cooper later confirmed that Russell was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area. Russell’s gun was confiscated and he was released.

Russell’s gun was a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and was loaded with six rounds, according to a TSA spokesman. He was turned over to Port of Seattle police and there were no disruptions at the airport.

According to Boston Globe, Russell later apologized for his October 16 arrest, saying he “accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag.”

Russell issued a statement accepting responsibility for the incident in which he was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after Transportation Security Administration officials found a loaded gun in his luggage. The 79-year-old has lived in the Seattle area for decades.

“Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake,” he said.

“I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn’t have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe.”

A five-time MVP, 11-time NBA champion and 12-time All-Star in his 13 seasons with the Celtics, Russell was also a pioneer for African-American professional athletes, serving as a key voice and figure during the civil rights era.

Russell played in 963 NBA games and holds career averages of 15.1 ppg and 22.5 rpg and 4.3 apg  in 42.3 minutes of playing time.

He never averaged below 18.6 rebounds per game in his career, and did not average double figures in scoring in only his last season as a pro. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game five times in his career.

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