NBA legend Bill Russell arrested for carrying firearm in Seattle airport


79-year-old NBA legend Bill Russell was arrested on Friday after bringing a handgun into a restricted area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Russell has a permit for the weapon but attempted to bring the gun through security in his carry on bag.

Russell, who won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics and coached the Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings, had a permit for the gun and was released. His background check was clear, an airport spokesman said.

Russell’s .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun was found at a security checkpoint Wednesday evening during routine screening of carry-on baggage, TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers said in a statement. Russell was cited by Port of Seattle police on a state charge, she said. …

In addition to facing local or state criminal charges, TSA will levy a civil penalty against a passenger who brings a firearm to the security checkpoint, Dankers said. The recommended civil penalty ranges from $3,000 to $7,500, but each penalty is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, she said.

The rule prohibiting fire arms on airplanes has been in place for quite sometime now. Russell lives in Washington.