The NBA and the NBPA (National Basketball Player’s Association) announced that they will be permanently retiring Bill Russell‘s no. 6 kit to honor his life and legacy as an 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer. Russell will be the first player in the history of the NBA to have his jersey number retired across all the teams. The Celtics legend recently died at the age of 88 at his home in Mercer Island, Washington.
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserves to be recognized in a one-of-a-kind and historic way,”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. It is also the reason why the NBA will be permanently retiring the number across all teams in the league.
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“This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game,” NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said.
“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.’ honored to join the league in commemorating his life and legacy,” Tremaglio added.
Apart from retiring the jersey, the NBA has planned to add a clover-shaped logo with no. 6 on the sidelines near the scorer’s table on every NBA court as well as a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of every player’s jersey for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
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Players such as Los Angeles Laker’s Lebron James and Washington Wizard’s Kristaps Porzinghis, who wear the same number, can continue wearing the number as long as they are with their respective franchises but no new player will be allowed to issue this number again.
Bill Russell is considered to be one of the most influential champion in basketball. He won the NBA Championship a record 11 times in a span of 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics, both as a player and coach between 1957 and 1969, along with the NCAA Championship twice, which he won with the San Francisco college basketball team.
Russell was also awarded the regular season NBA MVP five times in his career. He also won the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the country in 2011.