The 2018 NBA Awards from Los Angeles on June 25 (televised on TNT) celebrated the achievements of players and coaches for the 2017-18 season, including Houston Rockets guard James Harden as the league’s Most Valuable Player and Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons as Rookie of the Year.
But the most talked-about moment of the night belonged to Bill Russell, the legendary Celtics great and 11-time NBA champion.
Just prior to presenting the lifetime achievement award for another NBA legend Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley thanked many of the NBA Hall of Famers in the audience. Russell responded fo Barkley’s mention of his name by casually flipping him the bird.
Shortly thereafter, Russell took to Twitter to apologize for his gesture, despite most of social media reacting positively to the moment:
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 26, 2018