The NBA and NBPA announced that they would permanently retire Bill Russell’s uniform number 6 throughout the league and will recognize his life and accomplishments as a civil rights pioneer and 11-time NBA champion. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer will be the first player in NBA history to have his number retired.
Along with retiring Russell’s number, the NBA will honor the Boston Celtics legend throughout the 2022-23 season. A commemorative patch will be worn on the right shoulder by every NBA player, and every NBA court will feature a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table. The Celtics, for whom Russell played and coached his entire career, will have a separate and distinct recognition for him on their uniforms, which will be announced soon.
NBA star Russell’s jersey number, which he wore from 1956 to 1969, will not be reissued to any player by any NBA team. NBA players who currently wear the number six will be grandfathered in.
Players Currently Wearing No.6 Jersey
Players who currently wear No. 6, including the Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, are listed below:
List of NBA Players Who Wore No. 6
- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Alex Caruso (Chicago Bulls)
- Christaps Porzingis (Washington Wizards)
- Lou Williams (Atlanta Hawks | Free Agent)
- Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers)
- Nickel Alexander Walker (Utah Jazz)
- Hamidou Diallo (Detroit Pistons)
- Brian Forbes (Denver Nuggets | Signed with Minnesota at the Offseason)
- Quentin Grimes (New York Knicks)
- Galen McDaniels (Charlotte Hornets)
- Jordan McLaughlin (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Kenyon Martin Jr. (Houston Rockets)
- Moses Brown (Cleveland Cavaliers | Free Agent)
- David Duke Jr (Brooklyn Nets | Free Agent)
- Melvin Fraser (Oklahoma City Thunder | Free Agent)
- Keon Johnson (Portland Trail Blazers)
Bill Russell is one of 12 players in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who have donned the No. 6 jersey at some point during their careers. Julius Irving, Patrick Ewing, Ben Wallace, Don Barksdale, Chuck Cooper, Larry Costello, Tom Gola, Cliff Hagan, Alex Hannum, Buddy Jeanette, and Neil Johnston are among the other players.
Given the NBA’s update, it will be interesting to see if James or any others choose to change their numbers voluntarily. With Anthony Davis opting to keep his No. 3, James’ previous No. 23 is still available for Los Angeles. Regardless, James will be the final Lakers player to wear No. 6.