Former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell released a statement with an apology after being cited for carrying a loaded gun into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Wednesday.
"Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologize and truly regret the mistake," he said. "I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn't have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe."
The registered .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol was found in Russell's luggage when he went through airport security. The Transportation Security Administration officials confiscated the gun, which was loaded, and released Russell. The Hall of Fame center could face severe fines. A TSA spokesperson told KIRO TV that a recommended fine runs from $3,000 to $7,500 but varies.
Russell, who now resides in Seattle, won 11 titles with the Celtics and later became a head coach for the Seattle SuperSonics.
According to the Boston Globe, Russell is scheduled to attend the Boston unveiling of a statue of himself on Nov. 1.