Bill Russell: Late Boston Celtics legend’s number six jersey retired by all NBA teams
The NBA will honour Bill Russell, an 11-time champion, by retiring jersey number 6 everywhere throughout the league.
Russell, a former player for the Boston Celtics, died last month at the age of 88.
The number six will continue to be worn by LeBron James and other active players, but it will not be assigned to new players.
Centre Russell won a record 11 NBA championships and five NBA Most Valuable Player awards during his 13-year stay with the Celtics.
He led the United States to Olympic gold in 1956 and was the first black head coach in the league.
Bill Russell’s outstanding court performances and ground-breaking civil rights activism, in the words of NBA commissioner Adam Silver, “should be honoured in a particular and historic manner.”
Because Bill’s number 6 has been permanently retired by every NBA organisation, his incredible career will live on in memory.
Russell is the first NBA player to have his jersey number retired.
The Celtics had already retired his digits.
Russell will also be remembered during the 2022–2023 NBA season by having players wear a memorial patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys.
Each NBA venue will also have a clover-shaped six-point logo.
Russell was originally inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 as a player and then again in 2021 as a coach.
He is the third man whose digital number has been retired across the whole league in the four biggest professional sports leagues in the US and Canada.
Major League Baseball decided to retire Jackie Robinson’s number 42 for the duration of the league in 1997. The event was held to mark 50 years since Robinson broke down the racial barrier that prevented black athletes from playing for MLB teams.
In 2000, Wayne Gretzky’s number 99 jersey, worn by all NHL teams, was retired.