Bill Russell, the legendary NBA big man who triumphed mightily despite enduring racism and hardships, passed away last month at the age of 88. The NBA will honor Russell by retiring the No. 6 across the league.
The magnitude of Bill Russell and his impact on the game of basketball can be measured by both his skill, but also his 11 NBA championships as a member of the Boston Celtics. As reported by NBA.com, Russell will become the first player to have his number retired league-wide.
“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. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
“This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game,” said NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio. “Bill’s actions on and off the court throughout the course of his life helped to shape generations of players for the better and for that, we are forever grateful. We are proud to continue the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league.”
In addition to retiring Russell’s number, the NBA will pay tribute to the Boston Celtics’ legend throughout the 2022-23 season. All NBA players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys, and every NBA court will display a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table. The Celtics, for whom Russell played his entire career and coached, will have a separate and unique recognition for him on their uniforms, to be announced soon.
Bill Russell will live on in the hearts and minds of future and retired NBA stars due to the massive path he laid before them. May he rest powerfully in peace.