NBA announces permanent retirement of Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey

Bill Russell made his mark on the NBA during his time with the Boston Celtics, so they’re commemorating him in a special way. The league announced it will permanently retire his No. 6 jersey, making him the first baller to receive this honor. 

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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,” added 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.”

The leaguewide retirement of Russell’s jersey means the number will no longer be issued to any other player. Existing ballers like LeBron James who currently wear the No. 6 may continue to do so.

Russell passed away on July 31 at 88 years old. He goes down as one of the greatest players, earning five MVP titles, 12 All-Star selections, a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, 11 championships with the Boston Celtics and a Hall of Fame induction, among other honors.

The NBA will also pay tribute to him throughout the upcoming season, displaying a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sideline of every court. All players will wear “a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys,” and the Celtics’ uniforms will feature their own recognition of the basketball legend.

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