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NBA All-Stars and an entire arena sang 'Happy Birthday' to the legendary Bill Russell, 80 years young (Video)

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie
Former NBA player Bill Russell waves to the crowd during the NBA All Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in New Orleans
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Former NBA player Bill Russell waves to the crowd during the NBA All Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Bill Russell, one of the greatest and most important players and people in the history of the NBA, turned 80 years old on Feb. 12. He took in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans on Sunday, and during a break in the action, fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson exhorted the crowd at Smoothie King Center to serenade the Boston Celtics legend and 11-time NBA champion with a thousands-strong rendition of the most famous song that Mildred and Patty Hill ever wrote.

Here's the beginning:

And here's the end:

Watching the current crop of All-Stars pay respects to such an important predecessor — not only as a monstrously gifted and productive on-court figure, but also as a vital citizen and contributor to America's civil rights and social justice movements — made for a pretty wonderful surprise addition to All-Star Sunday. Happy birthday, sir, and many more.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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