Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey first ever to be retired across entire NBA

Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey first ever to be retired across entire NBA

Published August 12, 2022
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The National Basketball Association announced plans Thursday to retire the jersey number of late Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell. Russell, an 11-time NBA champion and activist, passed away on July 31 at the age of 88.

While specific teams in the league often retire the jersey numbers of influential or exceptional players, this will be the first time a number is retired across the entire NBA. The Celtics retired Russell’s jersey number for their team in 1972.

“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.”

Russell spent his entire NBA career with the Celtics. During his time as a player, he received the Most Valuable Player award five times and was a 12-time NBA All-Star. Following his retirement as a player, Russell returned to his beloved team as a coach, becoming the first Black head coach in the league and leading the Celtics to two more championship victories.