NBA legend Bill Russell has apologized for his arrest last week at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a loaded gun was found in his carry-on luggage.

"Before boarding my flight from Seattle to Boston I had accidentally left a legal firearm in my bag" Russell said in a statement. "I apologize 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."

The Transportation Security Administration says airport police arrested Russell on Wednesday night at a security screening after agents noticed a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol in his carry-on bag.