The Nationwide Basketball Affiliation (NBA) and Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation (NBPA) introduced at present that they are going to honor the life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Invoice Russell by completely retiring his uniform quantity, 6, all through the league. The long-lasting Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Famer would be the first participant to have his quantity retired throughout the NBA.
“Invoice Russell’s unparalleled success on the court docket and pioneering civil rights activism should be honored in a novel and historic manner,” stated NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Completely retiring his No. 6 throughout each NBA workforce ensures that Invoice’s transcendent profession will all the time be acknowledged.”
“This can be a momentous honor reserved for one of many biggest champions to ever play the sport,” stated NBPA Government Director Tamika Tremaglio. “Invoice’s actions on and off the court docket all through the course of his life helped to form generations of gamers for the higher and for that, we’re without end grateful. We’re proud to proceed the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league.”
Along with retiring Russell’s quantity, the NBA can pay tribute to the Boston Celtics’ legend all through the 2022-23 season. All NBA gamers will put on a commemorative patch on the precise shoulder of their jerseys, and each NBA court docket will show a clover-shaped emblem with the No. 6 on the sideline close to the scorer’s desk. The Celtics, for whom Russell performed his total profession and coached, could have a separate and distinctive recognition for him on their uniforms, to be introduced quickly.
Russell’s jersey quantity, which he wore for his total 13-season profession from 1956-69, is not going to be issued once more by any NBA workforce to any participant. Gamers who at the moment put on No. 6 might be grandfathered.
Considered the final word winner and mannequin teammate, Russell reworked the sport along with his dominant protection and swish athleticism on the middle place. He received a file 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons, which adopted back-to-back nationwide championships on the College of San Francisco (1955 and 1956) and a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic Males’s Basketball Group (1956). Russell, who led Boston to eight consecutive NBA championships from 1959-66, was so synonymous with success that the NBA Finals Most Helpful Participant Award was named for him in 2009.
His myriad accomplishments included 5 NBA Most Helpful Participant awards, 12 NBA All-Star alternatives and 11 All-NBA Group honors. Russell was named to all 4 NBA anniversary groups (twenty fifth, thirty fifth, fiftieth and seventy fifth) and inducted into the Basketball Corridor of Fame in 1975. A four-time NBA rebounding champion, he ranks second in league historical past in whole rebounds (21,620) and rebounds per recreation (22.5) within the common season. The Celtics retired his No. 6 jersey in 1972.
Russell’s influence on the NBA prolonged far past his enjoying achievements. In 1966, he was employed by the Celtics as the primary Black head coach within the historical past of the NBA and main U.S. skilled sports activities. As a player-head coach, he guided Boston to back-to-back NBA championships in 1968 and 1969.
Throughout and after his extraordinary basketball profession, Russell passionately advocated for the values of equality, respect and inclusion. He marched for civil rights with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and was steadfast in his perception that each one individuals must be handled with dignity. Russell was awarded the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his athletic feats and lifelong dedication to social justice.