President Obama got a sneak preview of a statue of NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell in Boston on Wednesday and later gave Mr. Russell and a woman a ride in the presidential limousine.
On his way to give a speech on health care, the president’s motorcade stopped at City Hall plaza downtown Boston so he could see the statue that will be unveiled Friday. Mr. Obama emerged from an enclosed white tent afterward and told reporters, “It’s a sight to see! But you don’t get to see it before Friday.”
Mr. Russell and an unidentified black woman followed the president out of the tent, and the woman reacted with shock when Mr. Obama invited them to ride with him in his limo.
“We get to ride in The Beast?” she exclaimed. They then rode with the president in the motorcade to Faneuil Hall, site of his speech.
At a 2011 ceremony honoring the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, President Obama said, “I hope that one day in the streets of Boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man.”
Mr. Russell played for the Boston Celtics, who won an NBA record 11 titles in 13 seasons with Mr. Russell at center.