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NBA legend Bill Russell rips President Trump's opposition to mail-in ballots: 'I don't want to risk my life'

Jack Baer

President Donald Trump’s recent threats to withhold federal funding from two states over plans to make absentee ballots available to all voters has captured the public ire of an NBA legend.

Bill Russell tweeted a direct message to Trump on Thursday sardonically reminding the president that the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, saying he doesn’t want to risk his life to vote.

As MassLive points out, Russell has been highly critical of Trump in the past. The Celtics great tweeted a direct repudiation of the president’s infamous “s---hole countries” remark in 2018 and once called criticism from Trump “the biggest compliment you can get.”

More recently, Russell had mocked Trump’s declaration that he was “number one on Facebook” amid a pandemic as “selfish.”

Of course, Russell is just one of the critics of Trump’s campaign against the prospect of mail-in ballots, which the president has attempted to justify with unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.

Bill Russell accepts the Arthur Ashe award for courage at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Such mail-in ballots are an attempt to minimize the risk of worsening the coronavirus pandemic with in-person elections. One election in Wisconsin last month notoriously proceeded as planned after the state Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ attempt to postpone in-person voting. The result: Dozens of new coronavirus cases among voters and poll workers.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted explicit threats to withhold funding from Michigan and Nevada — notably two swing states — if they send out mail-in ballots to voters, even tagging the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Treasury.

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