NBA Legend Bill Russell Says Being Criticized By Donald Trump Is ‘The Biggest Compliment You Can Get’

NBA legends LeBron James and Bill Russell.
Lynne Sladky / AP Images

Whether it’s about kneeling during a game or those who oppose his policies, Donald Trump is known for hurling insults at those he disagrees with, and LeBron James was no exception to that trend. As the Inquisitr reported, on Friday night, CNN re-aired an interview between Don Lemon and LeBron James. The segment was centered on James’ work in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and his contributions to the community.

One of those contributions is a new “I Promise” public school for at-risk third and fourth grade students, a school that provides free tuition, uniforms, meals, transportation, bicycles and helmets, food for the students’ families, and guaranteed tuition for all graduates to the University of Akron, as CNN reports.

When the interview shifted to politics, the NBA player told Don Lemon that Donald Trump is using sports and athletes to divide the country. Per his usual, Trump took to Twitter to share his disdain for what he heard, as documented by the Inquisitr.

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

It’s assumed that the “Mike” he is talking about is Michael Jordan, as it’s been a debate among fans on who the greatest NBA player is of all time. LeBron James took the high road after Trump’s insulting Tweet, refusing to throw insults back at Donald Trump, and several personalities came forward defending James, including Michael Jordan.

Michael Jordan wasn’t the only NBA legend to comment on this situation. Recently, NBA icon Bill Russell took to Twitter to share his support of LeBron James. As The Hill documented, Russell said that at this time and place for any African American, players being criticized by Donald Trump is “the biggest compliment you can get.”

Bill Russell also posted a powerful message on Twitter about how James’ being criticized is shameful.

“I hadn’t a need until now to say I am proud of [LeBron James] for following his dream to open ‘I Promise’ school. Helping kids & their families work towards a better life. All done with his own $$, for anyone to criticize that is shameful & lacks compassion.”

Bill Russell is one of the all-time greatest players in NBA history, and he was the first black player regarded as a superstar. From 1966 to 1969, he acted as a player-coach for the Boston Celtics, becoming the first black coach in North American professional sports, and he was the first black coach to win a championship. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Bill Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his contributions as a Civil Rights activist.