The NBA, together with NBPA, have announced their decision to retire Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey across the league. The decision was announced in a press release issued by NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA’s Executive Director, Tamika Tremaglio, on Thursday, August 11, 2022.
This follows several calls for the NBA to retire the legend’s jersey as a way of honoring his enviable achievements and legacies after he passed away on July 31 at the age of 88. But finally, NBA retires No. 6 jersey.
5-time NBA champion Magic Johnson was the first veteran to advocate for the retirement of the number 6 jersey a day after Bill Russell passed away. Mike Woodson, another veteran and Head Coach of the Indiana Hossiers, has also added his voice.
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” Adam Silver’s statement announcing the retirement of the jersey reads in part.
“Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized,” the statement continued.
The NBPA boss also, in a statement published on the NBPA website; said: “This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game. Bill’s actions on and off the court throughout the course of his life have 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.”
Bill Russell wore the No. 6 jersey throughout his playing career, which started in December 1956 and ended in 1969. He won a total of 11 championships with the Boston Celtics, with the iconic No. 6, for a period of 13 years.
Furthermore, he became the first black coach in the league, and the Sacramento Kings were the last team he coached before finally bowing out of the league.
Bill Russell was also a champion of human rights. He fought against racism against people of color until his last breath on earth. In 2011, former President Obama awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his human rights activism.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, a total of 14 players currently wear the No. 6 jersey. Popular among them are the Lakers’ LeBron James and Chicago Bulls‘ Alex Caruso.
However, according to the NBA, these players will continue to use the number till the next season begins in October.
Source: NBA Republic