It will be the first time in the league that Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey will be retired for the entire NBA.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday that they would permanently retire the jersey number worn by the 11-time champion, civil rights activist, and enough to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. announced 30 teams.
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights movement should be celebrated in a unique and historic way,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. By permanently retiring the number 6, Bill’s extraordinary career will always be recognized.”
Players currently wearing the number 6, including LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, may continue to do so. However, the number cannot be reissued, the league said.
All NBA players will wear a patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys this season, and all NBA courts will display a clover-shaped logo and the number 6 on the sideline near the scorers’ table, according to the league. increase.
According to the NBA, the Boston Celtics are planning to “specially recognize him on the uniform.”
Russell died on July 31 at the age of 88. He is the most prolific winner in his NBA history, his 11th champion in his 13-year career, and his last two titles as a player and coach. did. He has coached and won championships in one of the major professional sports in the United States.
He marched with Martin Luther King Jr., stood up with Muhammad Ali, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
And with his number retired across the league, he’s been put into a very exclusive club.
Major League Baseball has permanently retired the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in the big leagues. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees was the last player to wear the number 42 jersey in the majors, and he continued to do so until his final season in 2013.
With Wayne Gretzky’s retirement in 1999, the NHL said his number 99 jersey would be retired league-wide in honor of the sport’s all-time leading scorer.
And now Russell is getting the same treatment. It also seems fitting that he and Robinson (both breaking barriers) are reunited. Russell called Robinson a hero, once saying, “He taught me how to be a professional sports man.”
Evidently, Robinson also held Russell in high esteem. Her widow, Rachel Robinson, asked Russell to be her pallbearer at her husband’s funeral in 1972.
NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said, “This is a significant honor for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game.” He helped shape generations of players for the better, for which we are forever grateful and proud to continue celebrating his life and legacy with the league.”
More than 250 players have worn the number 6 jersey in NBA history, 24 of whom wore it in at least one game last season.
No Celtics player had worn the number 6 since 1968-69, Russell’s final season.
Russell is one of 12 players currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame and wore the number 6 at least at some point in his career. Others: Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Ben Wallace, Don Barksdale, Chuck Cooper, Larry Costello, Tom Gola, Cliff Hagan, Alex Hunnam, Buddy Janet, Neil Johnston.
Other AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.