For the last two weeks, the NBA has mourned the loss of the legendary Bill Russell, who passed away at the age of 88 on July 31. Russell was the greatest champion in all of team sports, as he had more championship rings than he did fingers. He was also a great champion off the court as well for his civil rights activism.
Russell's legacy was always going to be remembered forever in the league, but as one lasting gesture, the NBA announced on Thursday that they will retire the No. 6 for all teams. Players who currently wear No. 6, like Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, will be allowed to continue wearing it. However, no players will be able to select that number from this point forward.
The Orlando Magic don't really have to worry about its players choosing that number because they've surprisingly only had one No. 6 in franchise history – NBA legend Patrick Ewing.
Ewing wore No. 33 in all of his 15 seasons with the New York Knicks, as well as his second-to-last year with the Seattle SuperSonics. However, in his final season before retiring, Ewing wore No. 6 for the Magic while playing in 65 games. He averaged six points, four rebounds and nearly one block in 14 minutes per game. Ewing mostly came off the bench during the 2001-02 season, but he did start four times for Orlando.
Ewing will always be remembered for his Hall-of-Fame career in New York, where he accumulated 11 All-Star appearances, but he will forever own this unique piece of Magic history with him as well.
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