An NBA writer appeared to be confused about 87-year-old Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell during an appearance on ESPN, suggesting the Hall of Famer is dead before he was quickly corrected by his co-hosts.
Marc J. Spears, basketball writer for The Undefeated, turned heads on Thursday while on the afternoon ESPN show "The Jump," when he said Russell is "rolling in his grave right now," Mediaite reported.
Show host and longtime NBA reporter Rachel Nichols quickly picked up on Spears' misstatement.
“Why would you say that about our very present and alive Bill Russell?" she asked.
"I'm being silly," Spears answered, amid awkward laughter on the set. "Bill is alive and well."
“My Lord,” Nichols responded. “I’m looking at you, thinking oh, my God. I had a little heart palpitation there.”
The flub came amid a discussion about league awards and their impact on salary bonuses. The segment asked whether All-NBA nods should be handed out to the league's top players, irrespective of position, and Spears seemed to suggest Russell, arguably the greatest center in league history, would not be in favor of such a stipulation.