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NBA retires Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey permanently

James Foglio profile picture
Updated 2 weeks ago on
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NBA retires Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey permanently
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The NBA is officially retiring Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey. The 11-time NBA champion and Boston Celtics legend passed away at the age of 88 last month. Russell wore No. 6 throughout his entire 13-year career from 1956–69.

However, active players are still allowed to wear the number until they retire. That means four-time MVP LeBron James is in the clear to continue wearing his No. 6 jersey.

Equally important, Alex Caruso, Montrezl Harrell, Quentin Grimes, Moses Brown, Lance Stephenson, Bryn Forbes, Jalen McDaniels, Lou Williams and Kristaps Porzingis can wear the number as well.

On Thursday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released an official statement: “The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that they will honor the life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell by permanently retiring his uniform number, 6, throughout the league.”

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

Russell is the first NBA player to have his number retired leaguewide.

NBA retires Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey

Furthermore, NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio said, “This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game.

She went on to state, “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 NBA will pay tribute to Bill Russell throughout the 2022-23 season. Per multiple sources, all NBA players will wear a commemorative patch on the upper right side of their jerseys. Not to mention, on the sideline of each court, teams will display the Celtics shamrock logo with the No. 6.

Russell jerseys are selling for $75 right now. Amazon, eBay and Aresbestshop are options. Meanwhile, other sites are selling them for $100. At the moment, prices are reasonable.

Moreover, the legend was selected second overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1956 NBA Draft. Then, he was immediately traded to the Celtics. Russell won five MVPs. Additionally, he won one All-Star Game MVP in 1963. Through 963 career games, the center averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Russell also won two consecutive national championships at the University of San Francisco. As a player, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 and as a coach in 2021.

Of course, in 2017, Russell won the NBA Lifetime Achievement Award. Rest in peace to this legend. In fact, he was of the greatest basketball players ever. More news stories related to the NBA retiring Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey are on the main page.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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