Basketball legend Bill Russell has issued a public apology after it was revealed he was arrested for carrying a loaded gun through airport security in Seattle, Washington last week. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials announced on Saturday (19Oct13) that the former Boston Celtics icon, 79, was taken into custody by police at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Wednesday night (16Oct13) for having a .38 calibre Smith & Wesson handgun in his hand luggage. The firearm, which he had a permit for, was confiscated and he was cited for having a weapon in a prohibited area. He was subsequently released and now Russell has released a statement to say sorry for the "mistake". The statement reads: "Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston, I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag. I apologise and truly regret the mistake. "I was issued a citation by the TSA, whose agents couldn't have been more thorough and professional when dealing with this. I really appreciate their efforts to keep air travel safe." Russell would have been allowed to keep his weapon if he had packed the gun unloaded in his checked baggage. In addition to the citation, Russell faces a fine of up to $7,500 (£5,000).