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Report: NBA legend Bill Russell arrested and released after bringing a gun to Seattle airport

Oct 19, 2013, 12:04 AM EDT

source: Getty Images

NBA legend Bill Russell was arrested on Friday after bringing a handgun into a prohibited area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The details, from KIRO in Seattle:

Russell, who won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics and coached the Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings, had a permit for the gun and was released. His background check was clear, an airport spokesman said.

Russell’s .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun was found at a security checkpoint Wednesday evening during routine screening of carry-on baggage, TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers said in a statement. Russell was cited by Port of Seattle police on a state charge, she said. …

In addition to facing local or state criminal charges, TSA will levy a civil penalty against a passenger who brings a firearm to the security checkpoint, Dankers said. The recommended civil penalty ranges from $3,000 to $7,500, but each penalty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, she said.

The key details here are obviously the fact that Russell had a permit for the weapon, and that he was released shortly following his arrest. Russell is 79 years of age, so it’s quite possible that he may not have been fully up to speed on all of the latest airport security procedures.

Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, Russell is set to have a statue unveiled in Boston on November 1.

  1. elwaysagenius - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    I don’t know what he needs a gun for, even at his advanced age he could take most people.

    • spthegr8 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Bill Russell listening to too much Jay-Z and Rick Ross. ” Dont F**K wit bill you know he got it”!!!!

    • spthegr8 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      @Elway
      Even if Bill is still in GREAT shape. All the muscle’s in the world can’t, save you from an idiot with a gun. Even if your name is Bill Russell.

  2. hildezero - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    A Smith & Wesson? I gotta get me one of those… :P Seriously, everybody has one.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Beretta, Colt, Ruger, Glock, Walther,and Springfield.

  3. km9000 - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    Was the “NBA legend” part included in the headline lest someone mistakenly think this was about the old Dodgers shortstop?

  4. sportsnut101 - Oct 19, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    He looks great for being that old. He looks younger then Greg oden. Lol
    Hope they talk about it on first take today. Let’s see stephan a open up on this

    • nc1965 - Oct 19, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      “Black don’t Crack”

      • reesesteel23 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        ^ LMAO…nope

    • mydoghasfleez - Oct 19, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      “looks younger than Greg Oden”

      That’s hilarious. ROFLMAO

  5. hildezero - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Ha ha ha.

  6. shivarising - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    HAven’t these people learned yet???

  7. kando53 - Oct 19, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    “May not have been up to date on the new rules”, gimme a break, lol. Talk about trying to make excuses for the guy.

  8. Michael Ryerson - Oct 19, 2013 at 7:16 AM

    What does his age have to do with being ‘fully up to speed on all of the latest airport security procedures.’ The guy’s walking around with a firearm, isn’t he obligated to be ‘fully up to speed’? Are you saying he may be senile? Then maybe his permit ought to be pulled. Look I like Bill Russell as much as the next guy but if he’s going to be walking around braced, then he ought to be ‘fully up to speed’.

  9. seanb20124 - Oct 19, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    His age gets him a pass. That being said, bet he is an anti gun liberal.

  10. abxyer - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Old schooler with an old school piece. .38 S&W A stinger!

  11. onlyavoice - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:31 AM

    Heading For A GOP Meeting,
    To Show His Support (38 Caliber) For Obamacare.

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      Russell wouldn’t waste his time with pea-brain Conservatives.

      • drewzducks - Oct 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        You just may be stupid enough to believe that.

  12. papichulo55 - Oct 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Maybe he rollin with those Boston Bloods too, yo.

  13. imakcds - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Lock him up!!!!
    Sure would like to hear that cackle from behind bars!
    Yes, I’m a Laker Fan!!!
    LOL!!!
    Seriously? who DOESN’T know that you just don’t bring a gun on a plane???

    • jimeejohnson - Oct 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Russell kicked a whole lot of Lakers ass.

  14. spytdi - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Pea-brain conservatives? Not certain how you get off saying this when he ‘s the moron that attempt to take a weapon on to a plane.

  15. lastdukestreetking - Oct 19, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Not up to speed on airport procedures??? He makes appearances all over the country very regularly. Writer makes it sound like he hasn’t flown in 20 years. Really odd how the political commentary started in the comments.

  16. im2gr84u2h8on - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    That was hilarious when Fox News confused Bill Russell for Morgan Freeman.

  17. chiadam - Oct 19, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Now he leads LeBron and MJ in championships AND times caught smuggling a gun into an airport.

  18. eugenesaxe1 - Oct 19, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Keep it real Bill.

  19. drewzducks - Oct 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Drussell Unchained

  20. jazynaz - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    come on bill, everyone who has ever flown in the past 12 years knows about airport security and weapons. i know your not senile, and hopefully you weren’t so high you totally lost it. i guess age is no excuse for not knowing better either. that only leaves one possible reason…colossally poor judgement! wow, he really doesn’t fit the stereotype image of someone who would carry a gun on a plane!

  21. zoomy123 - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    Bill Russell: I got the burner! You know I got the burner! You seen me with the burner!

  22. jazynaz - Oct 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    oh no, does that mean he can never go visit the president again…bummer

  23. psly2124 - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Of all the pictures he has you need to post the one he took with the idiot.

  24. kavika6 - Oct 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    They won’t charge one of obama’s buddies for anything.

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