NBA legend Bill Russell was held by officials at the Seattle-Tacoma international airport last Wednesday.
Transportation Security Authority inspectors found a 38-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun in Russell's carry-on bag.
The 79-year-old lives in the Seattle area and was traveling to Boston, when he was cited for having the weapon in a prohibited area.
ESPN reports the gun was loaded. Airline passengers can travel with firearms, but it is only permitted in checked baggage.
The firearm was confiscated and Russell was released.