Before the Miami Heat tipped off against the Boston Celtics on Friday, the life of basketball icon Bill Russell was honored with a pregame ceremony at FTX Arena.
Russell, who spent the majority of his remarkable life battling both on the court against opposing NBA teams and off the floor against racial inequality, passed away on July 31 at 88 years old. Russell finished an 11-time NBA champion.
However, Russell’s greatest impact as a leader came as a civil rights activist. In 2011, former United States President Barack Obama presented Russell with the Presidential Medal of Freedom — highlighted in the video.
Watch the video tribute here, courtesy of A. Sherrod Blakely:
The Celtics and Heat are meeting for the first time since Boston eliminated Miami during their Eastern Conference finals playoff battle, punching their ticket to the NBA Finals.
Boston entered the contest winners of its season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. Meanwhile, the Heat are in search of a win, losing their first game, against the Chicago Bulls.