The NBA plans to honor the incredibly legendary life of Bill Russell and his commitment to the sport as an 11-time champion and civil rights pioneer by permanently retiring his uniform No. 6 throughout the entirety of the league. This will make Russell the only player to ever have their number retired across the NBA.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discusses Russell’s impact to the game and how the organization plans to honor him following his death stating, “Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way. Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.” It has been confirmed that current NBA players who are wearing the No. 6, most notably LeBron James, will be able to continue to do so, however, the No. 6 will no longer be issued to any other player.
In his 13 seasons in the NBA, Russell has worn the No. 6 between 1956-69. Russell has long been considered as the one who transformed the game, winning a record 11 NBA championships, a gold medal with the Olympic Men’s Basketball team in 1956 and has been synonymous with the league’s NBA Finals MVP award. 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.”
Russell was a 12-time NBA All-Star who averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game, cementing himself as one of the league’s all-time greatest centers. In 1975, he was officially inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The NBA and NBPA announced today that they will honor the life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell by permanently retiring his uniform number, 6, throughout the league.
Full release: https://t.co/jFjZwKtiB2 pic.twitter.com/LdXT4Mf8W7
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) August 11, 2022
Players who currently wear No. 6 will be allowed to keep doing so, according to the league, but Russell’s jersey number will not be issued again by any NBA team to any player.
More NBA from me: https://t.co/A6ycVmnrjq https://t.co/5cnFh6OJGt
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 11, 2022
In other sports news, Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey could fetch $5 million USD at auction.