Count Bill Russell among those missing the greatest boxer of all time. Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday, and since leaving us he’s inspired an outpouring of sentiment and reverie from politicians, writers, everyday people, and of course athletes like the NBA legend Russell.
“It’s difficult for me to talk about my friend because real friendship is private,” the eleven-time league champion with the Boston Celtics said, in a statement released early Sunday. “Muhammad Ali knew how to be a friend and that’s one of the hardest things to come by. I met him when he returned from the Olympics in 1960. I invited him to my house, which I used to do for all of the Olympic gold medalists that I knew. We shared that experience. He knew how to be a friend and I’ll never forget that about him. His friendship meant a great deal to me.”