On Thursday, the NBA and NBPA announced that in honor of the late Bill Russell, the No. 6 jersey will be retired for all 30 franchises. Russell, who was born on Feb. 12, 1934, had turned 88 earlier this year.
During his illustrious NBA career, he achieved an unparalleled 11 championships in 13 seasons. He won two of his championships while serving as a player-coach for the Celtics and became the first Black coach in league history. His on-court achievements ranged from winning five MVPs to earning 11 All-NBA Team nods.
In a press release, NBA commissioner Adam Silver honored Russell for his "transcendent career" stating his achievements and contributions both on the court and as a civil rights activist "will always be recognized."
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
The Celtics will honor Russell with a "separate and unique recognition" on their uniforms during the 2022-23 season. The plans have yet to be revealed by the team. All 30 teams will honor Russell with a clover-shaped logo with No. 6 included on the sideline of their game court.
For players who currently wear No. 6 for their jersey number, they will be permitted to continue wearing it unless they choose to change it or retire. Other circumstances could require a number change such as being traded.
For the San Antonio Spurs, it means the final player to wear jersey No. 6 is Avery Johnson. He began wearing "6" in 1991 and throughout his multiple stints with the organization, which ultimately ended in 2001.
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