The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said today that they would honor the life and legacy of Bill Russell, an 11-time NBA champion and a leader in the fight for civil rights by retiring his uniform number, 6, for good. The legendary member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be the first player in NBA history to have his number resigned.
Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, said, “Bill Russell’s unmatched success on the court and his early work for civil rights deserve to be honored uniquely and historically.” “You will always remember Bill’s amazing career because every NBA team has retired his number 6.”
The NBPA’s Executive Director, Tamika Tremaglio, said, “This is a huge honor for one of the best players to play the game.” “Bill’s activities here and there on the court throughout his life helped improve players, and we will always be grateful. We’re happy to keep honoring his life and legacy along with the league.”
NBA will pay Boston Celtics in 2022-23 Season
In addition to taking away Russell’s number, the NBA will pay tribute to the Boston Celtics legend throughout the 2022-23 season. All NBA players will wear a particular patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys, and a clover-shaped logo with the number 6 will be displayed on the sideline near the scorer’s table on every NBA court. Russell played and coached for the Celtics his whole career, and they will soon announce a separate and unique way to honor him on their uniforms.
Russell wore the same number for his 13-year NBA career, from 1956 to 1969. No NBA team will ever give that number to another player. Players who already wear No. 6 will be able to keep doing so.
Russell was known as the ultimate winner and a great teammate. His strong defense and graceful athleticism at the center position changed the game. He won a record 11 NBA titles in 13 years. Before that, he won national titles at the University of San Francisco in 1955 and 1956 and with the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in 1960. (1956). Russell led Boston to eight straight NBA titles from 1959 to 1966. He was such a symbol of success that in 2009, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award was named after him.
Bill Russel Won Five MVP Awards in NBA
He won five NBA Most Valuable Player grants, was chosen for 12 NBA All-Star teams, and was named to 11 All-NBA teams. Russell was selected for the NBA’s 25th, 35th, 50th, and 75th-anniversary teams and drafted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. He has won the NBA rebounding title four times and is second in the league’s history in absolute bounce back (21,620) and bounce back per game (22.5) during the regular season. In 1972, the Celtics took away his No. 6 jersey.
Russell’s influence on the NBA went far beyond what he did on the court. In 1966, he became the primary Black lead trainer in the history of the NBA and major U.S. professional sports when the Celtics hired him. In 1968 and 1969, he led Boston to back-to-back NBA titles as a player and head coach.
Russell fought hard for equality, respect, and including everyone, both during and after his fantastic basketball career. He strolled with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for civil rights and was always sure everyone should treat with respect. Russell was given the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2010 for his athletic achievements and his lifelong work for social justice.