Russell’s Medal of Freedom
President Barack Obama, a noted basketball fan, welcomed Celtics legend Bill Russell to the White House to accept the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. While President Obama noted Russell’s achievements on the court, it was his work off it that inspired the citation. “He endured insults and vandalism but he kept on focusing on making the teammates who he loved better players, and made possible the success of so many who would follow,” the president said. “I hope that one day in the streets of Boston that children will look up to a statue built not only of Bill Russell the player, but of Bill Russell the man.” That statue became reality two years later.
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