Aug 11, 2022 - Sports
NBA to retire Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey number
The NBA announced Thursday it would permanently retire the No. 6 jersey number worn by the late legend Bill Russell, who passed away last month.
Why it matters: This is the first time that the NBA has retired a player's number across the entire league, the NBA said.
- The league's decision to retire Russell's jersey means teams will no longer issue No. 6 to players.
- Any players wearing the number now — like LeBron James, who wears No. 6 for the Los Angeles Lakers — will be grandfathered in, the NBA said.
What they're saying: “Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement.
- “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
The big picture: Russell passed away in July and immediately garnered praise from President Biden and former President Barack Obama, among others.
- The Boston Celtics legend has a stacked professional basketball resume, including a record 11 NBA titles and five MVP awards.
- He was also the first Black coach in all major American professional sports and the only player-coach to win an NBA title.
Go deeper ... Remembering NBA legend and civil rights icon Bill Russell