NBA hero Bill Russell arrested for carrying loaded gun in US airport, police say
Stopped by Seattle security during screening for having handgun in carry-on luggage
Facing fine of up to $7,500 in addition to local or state criminal charges
Guns can only be transported in check-in luggage and must be declared
Russell is an 11-time NBA champion who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011
Basketball great Bill Russell has been arrested for bringing a loaded gun to Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle, police have confirmed.
The 79-year-old NBA legend - who won 11 championships with the Boston Celtics before going on to coach the Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings - was caught by airport security on Wednesday during a routine screening of carry-on baggage.
Port of Seattle Police Department spokesman Perry Cooper said Russell was arrest and issued a state citation for possessing a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun in a prohibited area.
'Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas of firearms are always prohibited in carry-on baggage,' a statement from the Transport Security Administration (TSA), released to KIRO 7, said.
'However, these items can be transported in checked baggage provided the traveler declares them to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.'
Russell had a permit for the gun but did not declare the weapon during check-in.
His background check was clear and he was released, an airport spokesman said.
Firearms in checked baggage must be unloaded and stored in a locked, hard-sided container.
Russell now faces a fine of up to $7,500 in addition to facing local or state criminal charges.
The TSA recommends civil penalty charges ranging from $3,000 to $7,500 on a case-by-case basis.
The 6-foot-9 former basketball star is best known for being the driving force behind an amazing string of consecutive NBA championships while playing for the Boston Celtics.
He spent his career as center for the Celtics from 1956 to 1969. In that time he won 11 championships.
In 1956 he won a gold medal in as captain of the US national basketball team.
Russell was a player-coach for the Celtics and is now know as the NBA's first African-American head coach.
He become coach of the Supersonics in 1983 and Sacramento's coach in 1987.
A University of San Francisco graduate, Russell was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006
In 2011, he was part of a group 15 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, for his work with the civil rights movement.
Russell now lives on Mercer Island, a city about a mile and a half east of Seattle. (dailymail)