Remembering Bill Russell: His heartwarming moment with Kobe Bryant

Remembering Bill Russell: His heartwarming moment with another NBA legend, Kobe Bryant

/ 09:33 AM August 01, 2022

Boston Celtics icon Bill Russell has well-lived 88 fruitful years of his life. On Sunday, the NBA legend passed away peacefully beside his wife, Jeannine. He left his well-known charm and passion in the basketball industry for the whole world to remember. His family confirmed the sad news on social media but didn’t disclose the cause of death.

With all the grievances and outpouring of support for the NBA legend, another Bill Russell remembrance resurfaces again on the internet. This one features Russell with another deceased and legendary NBA player, Kobe Bryant. 


In 2006, Bill Russell had a heartwarming talk with Bryant during an All-Star game. Russell, who was known for being supportive, gave flowers to Bryant before sharing some thoughts of wisdom and a heartfelt compliment. 

Sharing the exact status of being all-time greats for their respective teams, the Celtics, and Lakers, Russell and Bryant also share a deep respect for each other. Alongside their love for basketball, Bryant looks up to Russell’s passion for playing. While Russell also looks up to him as one of the greatest in Lakers.

Two years ago, the whole world mourned the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Now, the basketball world is grieving for yet another loss of a legend. When Bryant died, Bill Russell had a statement about the late NBA legend. He even continued to cheer for his name whenever there was a chance.

Another instance when the two had the same encounter showing their support for each other was during the 2019 ESPYs Award. Bryant gives him a memorable tribute. As an honor to Russell’s legacy, Bryant gave a powerful speech at that time. 


Bill Russell at ESPYs 2019

In the 2019 ESPYs, the Celtics’ Hall of Fame Bill Russell received the honor of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Bryant introduced Russell as the 11-time NBA champion and the “greatest winner that sports have ever known.”

The main highlight of Bryant’s speech was when he described Bill as a linchpin for dispersing the racial barriers. He is a game-changer in an era that paved the way for African-American athletes to succeed in their chosen sports. 

Bryant’s moving speech showed his support for Russell. He said, “Very generation has a responsibility to teach the next. One thing I learned about Bill is how he drew inspiration from his grandfather (Jake), whose motto was, ‘A man has to draw a line within himself that he will not allow any man to cross.’ Bill learned from that and added his motto: ‘You disrespect the line, you disrespect me.’ More than 50 years later, Bill and his grandfather’s mottos still resonate powerfully and speak loudly for Bill’s beliefs.”

Russell achieved the peak of his career in the 1950s and 60s. Moreover, he became the first African-American NBA head coach. He was also one to never bow down to injustices. He became active in the civil rights movement. Furthermore, he also fought for the dignity of Black athletes in many events. No question, Bill is an NBA legend that will never be forgotten. 

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TAGS: interesting topics, NBA news, NBA star
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