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NBA legend Bill Russell speaks out on current moment to address racism

NBA, Bill Russell

NBA legend Bill Russell penned a powerful essay for The Players’ Tribune where he talked about how America must battle with its past to move beyond racism.

Russell, a civil rights icon and one of the greatest players in NBA history, wrote about how African Americans are scared of the police today, just like how he was scared of the KKK when he was growing up as a kid.

“All of this might seem like ancient history, with no bearing on today. After all, these are stories from my early childhood, stories that are 80 years old. But in terms of time, 80 years is only a generation or two. Black kids today don’t grow up worried the Klan will kill them in the middle of the night — they worry the police will,” the NBA great wrote.

“The effects of racial terror perpetrated over hundreds of years don’t disappear simply because America wills them to. Yet all is not hopeless. There are ways to make them disappear. They disappear with national reckoning, with an examination of our cultural norms and our power structures, with the dismantling and rebuilding of our institutions, and by ending voter suppression so that everyone can vote for change from the bottom to the top of the ballot. In 1969, Black and Brown folks were fighting against social injustices that are no less pervasive today, the mode of delivery has just changed. They are easy to see if you only look, particularly in politics.”

Bill Russell also talked about how his dad was once threatened and shot at by some white men for simply walking home after his car ran out of gas.

It’s sad to think that racism still exists in America for the NBA legend, who is 86 years old and has basically dealt with racial injustices his whole life.

Russell highlighted education reform as something that needs to take place in America for serious change to be in play. Numerous NBA players at the Walt Disney bubble have actually chosen “Education Reform” as their social justice message on the back of their jersey.

Aside from that, several other players in the bubble continue to speak up about social injustices, police brutality and racism, highlighting that the fight isn’t over yet.