The NBA officially announced on Thursday that it will honor late Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell by retiring his No. 6 uniform league-wide. This is the latest gesture by the league to honor one of its most iconic figures, who recently passed away on July 31 at the age of 88.
The life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell will be honored by retiring his uniform number, 6, throughout the league. The iconic Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer will be the first player to have his number retired across the NBA. pic.twitter.com/OSVx02bQDl— NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2022
The 11-time NBA Champion, first African American head coach, and civil rights activist becomes the first player in the league’s history to have his uniform number retired league-wide and the second player in major American sports to achieve this honor after the MLB permanently retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in 1997. All current players wearing No. 6, most notably LeBron James, will be allowed to continue wearing the number, but it will not be re-issued to any new players ever again.
The entire NBA has both mourned and celebrated the life of Russell since his death last week and the tributes will certainly continue into the new season this fall.