Bill Russell, one of the greatest athletes in the history of U.S. team sports, passed away Sunday at age 88.
The Boston Celtics superstar earned the admiration of future generations for his impeccable track record as an 11-time champion and the NBA's first Black head coach.
Fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson commemorated Russell in a series of Twitter posts Sunday afternoon.
"I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of the greatest winner the game of basketball has ever seen, a legend, Hall of Famer, mentor and my friend for over 30 years, Bill Russell," Johnson wrote.
Johnson called Russell his "idol" whom he looked up to both on and off the court. He praised the unparalleled center for paving the way as one of the first athletes to combat social injustice and inequality.
"Despite all of his achievements, he was so humble, a gentle giant, a very intelligent man, and used his voice and platform to fight for Black people," Johnson added. "Since the day we met, he mentored me and shared advice."
Johnson called Russell's passing "a tremendous loss for the entire basketball world" and sent out his thoughts and prayers to his family and everyone in the basketball community.
Magic frequently opposed the Celtics, but the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar recognizes Russell's unmatched legacy.
Rest in peace, Bill.