The tributes continue to pour in for Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who sadly passed away at the age of 88 on Sunday. United States president Joe Biden released a statement to honor the icon and celebrate the incredible life he had on and off the basketball court.

President Biden highlighted Russell’s journey to becoming an 11-time NBA champion, five-time league MVP, 12-time All-Star and an Olympic gold medalist. Not to mention breaking barriers as the “first Black coach of any major sports league in America.”

More than Russell’s greatness as a basketball player, however, the POTUS also made sure to emphasize how the late Celtics big man faced the “hostility and hate of racism embedded in every part of American life” and becoming a beacon of hope not only for Black players but everyone facing racism.

“The promise of America is that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives. We’ve never fully lived up to that promise, but Bill Russell made sure we never walked away from it, …” Biden said in his statement

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“Throughout his life, he forced us to confront hard truths. And on this day, there are generations of Americans who are reflecting on what he meant to them as someone who played for the essential truth that every person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.

“Bill Russell is one of the greatest athletes in our history – an all-time champion of champions, and a good man and great American who did everything he could to deliver the promise of America for all Americans.”

President Joe Biden is not only the political figure that shared a tribute for Bill Russell. After the news of Russell’s death broke, Barack Obama also took it to social media to mourn the loss of the legend, saying that the word “lost a giant.”

Rest in peace, Bill.