(CNN) -- NBA legend Bill Russell was arrested this week for allegedly bringing a loaded gun to Sea-Tac International Airport in Seattle, police said.
Russell, 79, was arrested Wednesday and issued a state citation for having a weapon in a prohibited area of the airport, said Perry Cooper, a Port of Seattle Police Department spokesman.
Russell was issued a citation and released. He had a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun in a forbidden area of the airport, said Lisette Garcia, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman.
The gun was found during a screening of carry-on bags at a checkpoint, the TSA said.
"Firearms, ammunition, firearm parts and realistic replicas of firearms are always prohibited in carry-on baggage. However, these items can be transported in checked baggage provided the traveler declares them to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process," a TSA statement said.
Along with the state citation, Russell could be fined up to $7,500, the TSA said.
The 6-foot-9 former basketball star is best known for being the driving force behind an amazing string of consecutive NBA championships while playing for the Boston Celtics. He won 11 championships in his 13-year career that ended in 1969. During two years of his career with the Celtics he also served as player and coach, becoming the NBA's first African-American head coach.
In 2011, he was part of a group 15 people awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.