NBA players and fans honor Bill Russell on social media

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Bill Russell, NBA legend, pioneer, civil rights hero, Hall of Famer, and a thousand other incredible things, died on Sunday at 88. He immensely changed basketball and sports as a whole, both on the court and off.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on Russell's passing, emphasizing his "vigorous" crusade for civil rights and social justice.

The Boston Celtics, the only team Russell ever played for, put their statement about Russell's passing on Twitter.

Current and former NBA players expressed their deep sadness at the death of Russell.

Former President Barack Obama, who gave Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, reflected on Russell's legacy.

Celtics fans, NBA fans, media members, and the entire sports world mourned his passing on Sunday afternoon, sharing memories, photos, and stories on social media.

In recognition of what Russell had to go through as a Black athlete in the 1950s and 1960s, some posted stories about the racism Russell faced.

Russell, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr., put his blood, sweat, and tears into the fight for civil rights, and more than once put his career on the line.

Russell will also be remembered for his sense of humor and his incredible, room-shaking laugh.

He famously enjoyed flipping the bird to other players, and was caught on camera more than a few times with his middle finger raised to the heavens.

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