NBA legend Bill Russell became Twitter’s favorite grandpa Monday night after the 12-time all star flipped the bird to Charles Barkley live on television during TNT’s broadcast of the NBA Awards.
The moment came when Barkley, presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar Robertson, took a second to thank several other NBA legends, including Russell. At that point the camera turned to the (very sharply dressed) retired Celtics center, who, well, watch below:
Bill Russell giving the middle finger to Charles Barkley ???? pic.twitter.com/HyO3MbDC3C
— NBA@SneakerReporter (@NBA_SR) June 26, 2018
So why, pray tell, did the 11-time NBA champion flip off Sir Charles? Russell explained on Twitter, in a very sorry-not-sorry statement, that he just can’t help himself whenever he sees Barkley.
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 26, 2018
Not that an apology was actually needed. As you can hear in the video above, the audience broke out into loud laughter when Russell (who I’ll bet definitely didn’t forget he was on live TV) did the deed. And on Twitter, fans were agog about him, and the creation of what will almost certainly become a new everyone’s-g0-to-gif whenever someone annoys them on social media.
Read on for some pretty damn funny and occasionally just accurate tweets celebrating Russell’s gesture.
This gets points for being both true and a brilliant pun:
The two greatest Celtics: Russell and Bird https://t.co/NMOas3RsWk
— Adi Joseph (@AdiJoseph) June 26, 2018
bill russell on "civility" pic.twitter.com/UmmWg0mOnO
— Natalie Weiner (@natalieweiner) June 26, 2018
I’m tryna be like Bill Russell when I’m old ???? https://t.co/EJeOnfhzN0
— Daniel Castillo (@BigD_Castillo) June 26, 2018
And plenty agree this makes him the best-ever in the sport:
also, bill russell deserves his 12th championship for this pic.twitter.com/iHhK1Qxc5A
— mitch. (@MitchDaBalla) June 26, 2018
Bill Russell is a damn treasure we must protect at all costs
— SquashySZN (@SquashySavage) June 26, 2018
BILL RUSSELL THE GOAT pic.twitter.com/BlHiaNUblD
— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) June 26, 2018