#TakeAKnee has been captivating the nation. So much so that an aging Celtics basketball star opened a Twitter account this month just to tweet his support. The response has been amazing and the tweet is going viral.
Because he is Bill Russell. Anyone that knows basketball knows the name Bill Russell.
ESPN describes the photo:
A solemn-faced Russell, bearing his trademark white goatee and crew cut, is shown bent to the floor in what appears to be the beige-carpeted room of a home, balanced on his right arm with his other arm resting on his thigh, looking intently into the camera in a light-blue T-shirt and khaki slacks.
The photo caption is simple:
Proud to take a knee, and to stand tall against social injustice. #takeaknee #medaloffreedom #NFL #BillRussell #MSNBC
— TheBillRussell (@BillRus73270016) September 25, 2017
A little sports history on Russell from ESPN:
Russell, 83, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1975, was an 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics and won five NBA MVP awards.
The first player to win an NBA championship, college title and Olympic gold medal, he went on to become the first African-American to coach a team in one of the major professional sports.
While the Twitter account is brand new and unverified, there is no mistaking the imposing figure of the 2011 Medal of Freedom awardee. Whether the account was made by the star himself or perhaps by a grandchild with more knowledge of all things Twitter, the message is unmistakable. Bill Russell is taking a knee in support of the fight against racial injustice.
From Sutori.com, accompanied by a photo of President Obama standing on his tippy toes to place the Medal of Freedom around Russell’s neck:
Although there were many voices of civil rights during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Bill Russell was a clear spoken leader in many different areas. His experiences relate directly to the events of the story, which take place during the same time period that Russell grew up as an adult during. His speaking out against racism and prejudice and participation in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s really defined him as a true civil rights enthusiast.
Russell’s list of achievements on the basketball court are many. Less celebrated but no less impressive was his activity as a civil rights leader. In 1963 he was at the March on Washington and he defended Boxing legend Muhammad Ali when he refused the draft for religious beliefs. Russell became the first African American head coach in the NBA when he replaced Red Auerbach in 1966.
As this movement grows, Trump becomes more agitated with it. As more and more people of name step forward, there will be no turning back. As a nation we are sending a message that we will not stand for racial injustice in the 21st century.
Featured image from Wikimedia Commons