Celtics Legend Bill Russell Receives COVID-19 Vaccine in NBA PSA Video

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2021

Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell stands court side during a tribute in his honor in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell recorded a PSA for the NBA that showed him receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The video begins with a highlight from Russell's playing days before transitioning to the present with him arriving at the vaccine location with a message for everyone.   

"I just arrived to get my COVID shot, and this is one shot I won't block. ... Let's do this together," he said. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last month at a virtual conference the league was considering recording players receiving the vaccine to use as an educational tool:

"There have been discussions. It's something we're particularly focused on. ... At the appropriate time, whenever that is and whether that's directed federally by NIH or CDC or ultimately state-by-state programs, we think there's real value in our players demonstrating to a broader community how important it is to get vaccinated."

Silver cited the "enormously disparate impact" the coronavirus has had among Black people in the United States while also noting "there's been enormous resistance [to vaccinations] in the African American community for understandable historical reasons" as key reasons to record PSAs. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar received a COVID-19 vaccine last month, and his video message urging everyone to "do this together" aired during the NBA's slate of games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Russell, 86, is one of the most iconic and successful players in NBA history. He won 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons with the Celtics from 1956-69. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, FIBA Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame.