The National Basketball Association was one of the first sports leagues to have many of the first major athletes to receive good pay and fame. Bill Russell was born in 1930s Louisiana and helped created one of the greatest sports dynasties ever when he led the Boston Celtics to 11 championships in the 1950s and 60s. He has spoken and written much about his experiences with racism during those days which included the historic civil rights movement.
Speaking to Boston natives through the Boston Globe Magazine, Russell gave his thoughts on what has occurred after the death of George Floyd by the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
“Let me remind you of that unfulfilled promise, the one right there in the Declaration of Independence: ‘All men are created equal’ … ‘they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,'” Russell writes. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for America to live up to that promise.”
Russell says the nation has still not fulfilled that promise, and decries “the systemic and pervasive killing of Black and brown people.”
“Yet, I am heartened by the waves of Black Lives Matter protesters risking their lives to march among our streets. I am heartened by the Minneapolis City Council’s pledge to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department in response to their protests,” he writes. “And I sincerely hope that these kinds of strange days are forever behind us, and that real, lasting change will finally be realized. Our lives depend on it.”