Basketball Legend Bill Russell Apologizes for Carrying Loaded Gun Into Airport

Bill Russell blocks the ball! (courtesy

“Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake. I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn’t have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe.”


  1. avatar PhoenixNFA says:

    its ok bill…everyone makes mistakes….including us.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    I often leave a legal gun in my luggage (Bill Russell, Jerry Lewis), public toilets (any number of police officers and Dave Evans, Missouri House legislative assistant), the trunk lid on a police cruiser (Seattle) and, oh, I don’t know — it’s getting so hard to keep track of such things.

    In each case, the arresting SWAT teams could not have been more professional as they executed my family pets and tased me repeatedly.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      That sounds suspiciously like sarcasm, and I’m a more suspicious person than most.

      1. avatar Nine says:

        Ralph? Sarcastic?


    2. avatar John says:

      Awesome. Well done sir.

    3. avatar Jay1987 says:

      Well Ralph it’s ok I do the same thing from time to time just to get an early morning jolt from a Taser I even once gave my hyper active 2 year old a loaded plastic type clear colored cap gun just to meet a pretty girl from CPS

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        “just to get an early morning jolt from a Taser”

        Very understandable. Personally, I prefer coffee, but a Taser is good too.

  3. avatar Bob says:

    Yeah, because we all know if the gun got through the TSA checkpoint and Bill remembered it was in his carry-on while the plane was in the air he would have an uncontrollable urge to start shooting up the plane.

    Thank God they arrested him for being human.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The case is a slam dunk.

  4. avatar Jeff says:

    Everybody gets one screw up like this.

    Mine was during a roadtrip to Arizona last summer. I had brought two pistols with us, stored in a .50 cal can, stowed beneath most of our stuff – unloaded, but all in the same can.

    During a stop outside SLC to swim in a park, I pulled the can out of the car to get to our swimsuits. When my wife realized about an hour later that we forgot go get the towels, she returned to the car to find the towels and the ammo can sitting out in the open next to the car. Other cars had parked neatly around the left items, and they hadn’t been touched.

    I never felt more stupid and irresonsible in my life. Fortunately, I believe that SLC is one of the few places in the country where those items would remain untouched after being left out in the open for so long.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Obviously this was before the big ammo shortage, otherwise that ammo can would have been awfully tempting for someone.

  5. avatar J.G. says:

    You guys just cant believe someone could have given an earnest apology, and compliment can you? I agree that just because you’re paranoid doesnt mean that they aren’t out to get you, but paranoia is counterproductive if its not tempered by purpose and direction.

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      The issue here isn’t whether or not he made an honest mistake. It is the fact that if you or I had made this same mistake, we’d have ended up in a LOT more trouble than this celebrity.

      1. avatar J.G. says:

        Not true. He may, or may not receive a civil penalty, based on the circumstances. If he had been in a state like NY. Then he would have been subject to arrest by NY port authority, TSA sees a “prohibited item” the procedure is different if a firearm is found, but only because they dont want screeners handling weapons. He wasn’t arrested because the local cops chose not to arrest him, or because it was a misdemeanor and only warrants a written citation.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          Not true? Try it and see.

        2. avatar Matt in FL says:

          I’m pretty sure that most people who get caught with “forgotten” weapons are given a civil citation, unless they’re in a place where the Constitution and FOPA are both suspended, like New York. Sometimes it’s with a hefty fine, but I think most of them end up making their flights.

        3. avatar Colt Magnum says:

          Actually, the Port of Seattle Police did arrest him on state charges. He was cited, then released. His gun was confiscated.

  6. avatar Samuel Leoon Suggs says:

    Did you guys cover the uncial incident at all? If so I missed it.

  7. avatar the ruester says:

    Did they know he was a sports legend? Would we get off with a citation?

    1. avatar Jerry says:

      Yes, most likley. A misdemeanor offense, with some exceptions, usually warrants a citation with the suspect being released. He may or may not incur a fine from the TSA.

      1. avatar Blue says:

        Will he get his piece back? Will Di Fein pee on it first?

  8. avatar Bob says:

    Criminalizing an honest mistake like this is a clear sign of a mentally ill society.

  9. avatar miserylovescompany says:

    So the good Mr. Russell was cited for his transgressions, released and offered a mea culpa by way of apology. Well I can dig that.

    Now what I wonder is, will he apologize for being more equal than the rest of us? Because, you know….


  10. avatar stateisevil says:

    Nothing to apologize for IMO. Would Mr. Russell have started shooting up the plane if he had gone through with the gun? No. But then we’d admit there really is no reason for the slave training at airports.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Would Mr. Russell have started shooting up the plane if he had gone through with the gun?

      Only if Wilt Chamberlain was aboard.

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