Posted October 19, 2013

Reports: Bill Russell arrested after loaded gun was found in carry-on bag at airport

Ben Golliver, Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
Bill Russell won 11 championships with the Celtics. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Bill Russell won 11 championships with the Celtics. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Legendary NBA center Bill Russell was arrested Wednesday at the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) Airport when a loaded handgun was allegedly found in his luggage, according to multiple reports.

KING-5 News and KIRO-TV in Seattle both report that Russell, 79, was arrested after a loaded .38-caliber handgun was found during a Transportation Security Administration screening of his carry-on bag.

Russell reportedly had a permit for the weapon, which was confiscated. KIRO-TV reported that Russell, who has since been released, was cited by the Port of Seattle for carrying a weapon in a prohibited area and that the TSA will assess a monetary penalty.

KOMO News reports additional details.

The 11-time NBA champion was arrested just after 9 p.m. when Transportation Security Administration workers found a loaded .38 caliber Smith & Wesson firearm in his carry-on bag, according to Lorie Dankers with the TSA. The Port of Seattle Police arrested and cited the 79-year-old on a state charge. He was released that night, but his gun was confiscated, according to airport spokesman Perry Cooper.

In addition to winning 11 titles with the Celtics in the 1950s and 1960s, Russell was a five-time MVP and 12-time All-Star during his Hall of Fame career. After retiring in 1969, Russell went on to coach the Celtics, SuperSonics and Kings. The NBA has named its Finals MVP trophy in his honor, and Russell was on hand in Miami in June to present the award to Heat forward LeBron James.

Russell has been honored in countless ways in recent years. The Celtics announced in 2011 that Russell, who lives in Washington state, will be honored with a commemorative statue in Boston’s City Hall Plaza that will be unveiled in November. In May of this year, Phil Jackson paid Russell the ultimate basketball compliment, saying that he would select the Celtics center over Michael Jordan if he was starting a team from scratch.

In recognition of his achievements both on and off the court, President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

“Bill Russell is the former Boston Celtics’ Captain who almost single-handedly redefined the game of basketball,” a White House statement read. “Russell led the Celtics to a virtually unparalleled string of eleven championships in thirteen years and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times.  The first African American to coach in the NBA—indeed he was the first to coach a major sport at the professional level in the United States—Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights.  He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality.”

57 comments
jonpa31
jonpa31

Obama is the worst president of all time.

6marK6
6marK6

Please forgive WHO*IS*ESPN's numerous racist rants in here. He was sodomized by various African American males while serving time for check forgery in County. It has given him a rather hostile view.

Alex1111
Alex1111

No doubt, Russell revolutionized basketball as an agile, athletic big man. Mikan couldn't be considered in the same league with him, especially if you are using modern basketball as your barometer. I mean, Russell would be the 66 Corvette compared to Mikan's '32 Model T.

That said, I admired Russell the basketball star but never Russell the man. Although I haven't heard him speak in a few years, the guy always seemed to have a giant chip on his shoulder. While I am well aware of the era he played in, it gets a little stale 30 or 4o years later. Many of us would have loved the life of luxury afforded to pro athletes, no matter the color.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

Bill Russel is an ultra-liberal.  What's he doing with a gun?

MikeSchultz
MikeSchultz

I HOPE NOT but sound like his Brain isn't as Quick as it used to because u bring a Gun to the Airport either u forgot that u had been hiding it in said Bag or the Wheels are not turning & the Train is starting to go off the Track. 

Well he picked a Solid Backup Piece to have, .38 S&W almost Guaranteed to work every time an spit out 6 Solid .38 Caliber Bullets. That Belongs on your Ankle or your House, even the Wifes Purse. 

joeshine730
joeshine730

come on 6'11" Black 100 years old and looking like a black Herman Munster Bill Russell don't need no gun.  That dude is scary enough.  bet the gun didn't have any bullets.

swinganddestroy
swinganddestroy

Okay, but why do we need a recap of his accomplishments because he was caught with a gun in the airport?


Vinny Cordoba
Vinny Cordoba

I get this feeling that Bill's elevator doesn't go to the top floor anymore.

JimKirkwood1
JimKirkwood1

Really sorry to hear this. He was one of my heroes. not just for basketball, but he impressed me as being very imntelligent

DonnIrving
DonnIrving

Damn! Bill ain't you got something better to do?

Matthew Cush
Matthew Cush

He's losing it. How else do you forget a loaded gun in your carry-on? An unfinished 16oz. bottle of water, yes, but a loaded gun?

Not4nutten
Not4nutten

He would have bin better off with a body guard, they don't confiscate them!

DavidBlank5
DavidBlank5

one of worst coach in Sac,Kings were awful with him,I remember seeing him noding off during games

Nosmo_King
Nosmo_King

I'm surprised the NRA isn't rallying to this man's defense.  I mean, the weapon was legally owned and permitted, right?  Oh yeah, wrong color human.   The NRA defends the gun rights of whites only.

Chip
Chip

Many people carry a gun and travel with one. And yes, the gun is loaded. Why wouldn't it be? A gun doesn't help very much for self-defense if it's not loaded.

What I'd like to see is the TSA not blow a gasket but instead let folks either pack their firearm (or any other prohibited carry-on item) in their checked baggage, or allow them to go and get it packaged by a third party (perhaps an in-airport UPS Store) so that it can be added as a separate luggage item or mailed to the destination (or mailed home). But to expect decent customer service from the TSA is probably asking way, way too much.

And I suppose it is also too much to expect people to rationally discuss this without discussing his skin color, or height, or age, or without expressing an unwarranted fear of someone who has a gun.

Dick
Dick

Why do so many posters bring up the color of his skin?  It has NOTHING to do with the issue.  And please don't respond by lecturing me on the state of race relations in this world. 

Mark W2
Mark W2

Who knew he could shoot?

SteveCrowell
SteveCrowell

I suggest if you have received a Presidential Medal of Freedom you be allowed to carry like an air marshall.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

And he was released? ANYONE else is rotting in a cell to made an example of by TSA.  Typical n**g with fame

ChaseWalsh3
ChaseWalsh3

did he forget what color skin he was for a minute?  lol.

houndstoothunderwear
houndstoothunderwear

what changed the game was 

HOUNDSTOOTHUNDERWEAR...DON'T EVER FORGET THAT

(now..when I see ALLEGEDLY and REPORTEDLY in the same article ...I think..

this article and it's substance is 

B U L L S H I T  !!!!


that's all folks



laurielynn78
laurielynn78

it was George Mikan who single handedly changed the game of basketball. They changed the layout of the court because of him. Sure Russell was great, but give credit where it is due.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Really not a big deal, of course, but I do wonder why Russell feels the need to travel with a gun.  Maybe he just normally stores it in that bag in his closet when he's at home, and forgot it was in there when he packed?

cbarlow
cbarlow

IS he getting senile and forget that his gun was loaded?

MichaelO'Donnell
MichaelO'Donnell

So, a 7 foot black man with a loaded gun tries to board an airplane....

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

@DavidBlank5 Face it.  Lots of people nod off at Kings games and in Sacramento in general.

JHammer
JHammer

@Nosmo_King I have had a concealed weapons permit since the mid-90s and am a lifetime member of the NRA.  I'm certain the NRA would not come to my aid either even though I'm supposedly a member of the so-called "white privilege" race.

It's called breaking the law and EVERYONE who has a concealed weapons permit is aware of it. Your comment was either based in lack of knowledge of how the process works or it was race bating. Either way you're mistaken.

By the way Mr. Russell made a mistake and I don't think any less of him for it because he appeared to have handled it well with the TSA and police. It's also a mistake that I could also make though I work hard not to.

R3
R3

@Nosmo_King Spoken like a true race-baiter. He was carrying a loaded gun in his carry on bag. Just because you have a permit doesn't mean you can carry a loaded weapon on a frickin' plane. Holy cow. And do you have any idea how many black members the NRA has? I didn't think so. And quit whining about the guy's race.

JHammer
JHammer

@Chip Actually for most flights and destinations you CAN check a firearm in as baggage. You just have to do it before you get to the security area, such as the ticket counter. Also the firearm  has to be in some form of carry case and must be unloaded.

Always check local laws at the destination airport for quirky rules on transporting and storing the weapon after arriving. Some cities have some very draconian laws about possession even if you're not a convicted criminal.

XzoticSpade
XzoticSpade

@Chip Dude. He was carrying a handgun, in his carryon bag, onto a plane. Airport security did their job.

DonnIrving
DonnIrving

Steve, there are already too man privileged folks in the world without a former NBA player having a privilege to carry a weapon on a plane.

DonnIrving
DonnIrving

Wow, now we need to consider the wider range of dermatological for maintaining a good memory?

itsthinking
itsthinking

@laurielynn78 What do you have against Russel?  Who cares who changed the game first.  Michael Jordan changed the game, Magic, hell even Kobe, Kareem, Larry, and even Lebron.  Each in their own way.  LOL

johnnydee
johnnydee

@leehwgoc Well of course he forgot it was in his bag; and why do you wonder why he "feels the need to travel with a gun"?  Could it be that he doesn't want to be unarmed if some thief or carjacker decides that this old guy is an easy target?  I do agree that this isn't a big deal, I'm glad to hear he is among those Americans that travel armed. 

Chip
Chip

@JHammer I'm very aware that you can check a firearm as baggage. That's certainly what Mr. Russell should have done. What I'm suggesting is that it would be nice if the TSA allowed passengers to make provisions for prohibited items that they accidentally carried into the security area vs. having to lose those items and be fined / charged with a crime / etc.

Chip
Chip

@XzoticSpade Dude. I know they were doing their job. I expressed an opinion on why what they're doing is not the best way to do it.

My point is that default assumption that "carrying a gun = bad guy trying to destroy a plane" is unwarranted. In many cases, "carrying a gun = person who typically carries for self-defense made an error and forgot to leave the gun home / store in luggage." But instead of accepting that a mistake was made and giving the passenger a chance to correct it - a mistake that didn't hurt anyone, BTW - he's now treated as a criminal.

I accept that those who cited and fined him are doing their job. But I'm suggesting that the rules should be changed.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

@johnnydee @leehwgoc Ok, what if a person without fame did this? You think it is ok not knowing their motives.  please, let me know what planes you fly so I can take another one

Chip
Chip

@RayIsBipolar Where did I suggest that loaded guns should be allowed as a carry-on item in a plane?

RayIsBipolar
RayIsBipolar

@Chip @XzoticSpade What the hell is wrong with the people fighting this charge like Russell didn't do anything wrong? The reason the planes were hijacked with box cutters and not guns on 9/11 is the fact that guns are not allowed on a plane. Can you imagine how easy it would be to take over a plane if guns were allowed on a plane? Would you really hop on a plane with a bunch of strangers with loaded weapons flying across the nation? Use common sense folks, guns do not belong on planes, EVER!!