NBA to retire Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey across league

Along with 11 Championships, the Boston Celtics stalwart has won five NBA Most Valuable Player awards, 12 NBA All-Star selections and 11 All-NBA Team honours.

Abhishek SandikarAuthor

Updated - 12 August 2022 06:25 PM

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is set to retire the number 6 jersey worn by Boston Celtics legend and civil rights activist Bill Russell, who passed away last month. The league released a statement addressing this decision on Thursday. Russell was an 11-time NBA champion and the first Black coach in NBA. He will now be the first player to have his number retired across all teams in the NBA.

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honoured in a unique and historic way,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”

“This is a momentous honour reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game,” said 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.”

Along with retiring Russell’s number, the NBA will pay tribute to the legendary centre throughout the 2022-23 season.  All NBA players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys, and every NBA court will have a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 near the scorer’s table. 

The Celtics are set to have a separate and unique recognition for Bill on their uniforms which will be announced soon. Russell’s jersey number 6, which he wore through his 13-season career from 1956-69, will not be given again by any NBA team to any player. 

The Boston Celtics stalwart has won five NBA Most Valuable Player awards, 12 NBA All-Star selections and 11 All-NBA Team honours. Russell was included in all four NBA anniversary teams (25th, 35th, 50th and 75th) and inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. Russell also is a four-time NBA rebounding champion and is second in league history in total rebounds (21,620) and rebounds per game (22.5) in the regular season. 

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