Boston Celtics great and 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell is okay after he collapsed while delivering a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nev. on July 17.
Bill Russell is okay after collapsing during a speech in Lake Tahoe, Nev. on July 17.
The Boson Herald's Mark Murphy reports Russell was able to recover from the scare in time for his flight back to his home in Seattle:
"Bill Russell has reportedly recovered from a fainting incident earlier today, and is in transit to his home near Seattle.
"According to a team spokesman, the Celtics legend fainted while attending a function in Lake Tahoe, Nev., but recovered well enough to board his scheduled flight home.
"Russell, 80, has been a regular at NBA functions in recent years, often appearing on behalf of the league at events like the NBA Finals and All-Star Game. Though he was greatly saddened by the death of his wife Marilyn in 2009, Russell continued to travel across the country on behalf of the league. The NBA Finals MVP award was named after him that same year.
"Russell flew to Boston last Nov. 1 for the unveiling of a statue in his honor in City Hall Plaza -- an honor, the vast majority of Bostonians and Celtics agreed, that was well overdue."
The Boston Celtics confirmed to ESPN that their legendary center is "feeling better":
"Basketball legend Bill Russell was hospitalized Thursday after feeling faint while giving a speech in Nevada, the Boston Celtics said.
"Russell, 80, left the event at the Hyatt Regency resort in Incline Village on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital as a precaution, according to the Celtics.
"The Hall of Fame center is 'feeling better,' the Celtics said, and is expected to fly back to his Seattle-area home as early as Thursday night.
"Witness Michael Rooney told The Associated Press that Russell was telling a story about Wilt Chamberlain to a roomful of Konica Minolta employees when he started to sway at the podium and then fell backward. Rooney says Russell seemed to be conscious as hotel personnel and first responders came to his aid. The meeting was cut short and attendees left.
"Russell won 11 championships with the Celtics and is considered one of the best players in NBA history. He was recently at the NBA Finals, awarding the trophy in his name (given to the Finals MVP) to the Spurs' Kawhi Leonard following Game 5 in San Antonio."
Several NBA stars, including current TNT analyst Charles Barkley and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry wished Russell well, per USA Today:
"Former NBA star Charles Barkley was at the American Century Championship on Thursday. Barkley said of Russell,'He's been a mentor to me for a long time. He's just an amazing man. Obviously his basketball, that's self-explanatory. I just hope he's all right.'
"'He's a legend, a pioneer of the game,' said Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, also at the ACC. 'I'm fortunate enough to have met him. The impact he's had during his career and now as an ambassador of the league...Hopefully he's all right. He's meant a lot to the game and definitely solidified himself in history.'"
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