BOSTON (WHDH) - No Boston Celtic has worn Bill Russell’s number six since the 5-time NBA MVP and 11-time champion retired in 1969. Soon enough, the rest of the NBA will follow suit.
The NBA will retire the late Bill Russell’s number across the league, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Russell wore six for all 13 seasons in his career, all spent with the Boston Celtics.
According to Charania, players currently wearing the number six, such as the Laker’s LeBron James, will be grandfathered in and allowed to continue to wear the number.
Bill Russell is the third player to hold the honor of an league-wide jersey retirement among the “Big Four” North American pro sports leagues alongside MLB’s Jackie Robinson and the NHL’s Wayne Gretzky.
While Russell is renowned as one of sports’ greatest winners, the center was also an active member of the Civil Rights movement and participated in the March on Washington in 1963 alongside Martin Luther King Jr.
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserves to be honored in a unique and historic way,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver in a statement. “Permanently retiring his No.6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
In addition to the league-wide jersey retirement, every NBA jersey will include a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys and a shamrock adorned with Russell’s six will be displayed on every court near the scorer’s table.
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