| ||Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell issued a statement Wednesday about the death of his friend and rival, Wilt Chamberlain:
"I feel unspeakably injured. I've lost a dear and exceptional friend and an important part of my life. Our relationship was intensely personal.
"Many have called our competition the greatest rivalry in the history of sports. We didn't have a rivalry; we had a genuinely fierce competition that was based on friendship and respect. We just loved playing against each other. The fierceness of the competition bonded us as friends for eternity. We loved competition. Wilt loved competition.
||We just loved playing against each other. The fierceness of the competition bonded us as friends for
||— Bill Russell, on
"Wilt was the greatest offensive player I have ever seen ... I've seen none better. Because his talents and skills were so super human, his play forced me to play at my highest level. If I didn't, I'd risk embarrassment and our team would likely lose.
"Out of respect for Wilt and Wilt's family I'd rather not say much more at this time other than I'm going to dearly miss my friend Wilton Norman Chamberlain."
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