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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.

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