NBA legend, civil rights activist Russell out of hospital after health scare

Washington (AFP) –


NBA legend Bill Russell, the former Boston Celtics center who won a record 11 league titles, said Saturday he is out of hospital after being treated for dehydration.

The 84-year-old icon, known for his civil rights activism during and after his playing career from 1956 to 1969, was taken by ambulance from his Seattle home to a nearby hospital Friday night.

Russell dismissed an early report he had been taken due to heart trouble and shortness of breath in a Twitter posting announcing he was out of the hospital.

"Thank you everyone for the kind thoughts," Russell tweeted. "Yes I was taken to the hospital last night & as my wife likes to remind me I don't drink enough."

Russell even joked about his situation, adding, "On my way home & as most my friends know I don't have a heart to give me trouble."

Five-time NBA Most Valuable Player Russell, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, played his entire career for the Celtics dynasty team after helping the United States to 1956 Melbourne Olympic gold.

From 1966-1969 Russell served as coach and player for the Celtics, becoming the first African-American coach in North American pro sports and the first to guide a championship squad.

In 2011, then-US President Barack Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his civil rights activism, including support for boxing legend Muhammad Ali after his ban for refusing induction into the US Army and taking part in Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 March on Washington.