SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Bill Russell says he's finally ready to become a Hall of Famer.
The 11-time NBA champion, five-time MVP, Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion said on Twitter on Friday he was presented with his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony that came four decades after he was first elected out to the sanctuary in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Russell did not attend his induction ceremony in 1975. He says he did not I do not deserve to be the first black player to be introduced. He tweeted that "I felt that others before me should have the honor."
In a private ceremony w / my wife and close friends A.Mourning @AnnMeyers @billwalton & others I accepted my #HOF ring. In 75, I refused to be the first black player to enter @Hoophall I felt that others before me should have the honor. Good to see progress; ChuckCooperHOF19 @NBA pic.twitter.com/2FI5U7ThTg
– TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) November 15, 2019
His tweet mentions Chuck Cooper, who in 1950 was the first African American player to play and introduced this year.
Russell says the ceremony was attended by his wife along with close friends and Hall of Famers Bill Walton, Ann Meyers and Alonzo Mourning.