How can the NBA celebrate the legacy of Bill Russell? By retiring his iconic No. 6 jersey league-wide, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines.
Russell passed away at the age of 88 over the weekend.
That would be an appropriate tribute to Russell, who like Jackie Robinson excelled in his sport while fighting against prejudice and bigotry. The league could let players who currently wear Russell’s number finish out their careers with that uniform, Woike adds, but otherwise the number should be retired as a show of respect for Russell’s contributions to the game and society.
Here’s more reaction to the passing of Russell:
- Another of the league’s all-time greats, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, reflected on his 60-year relationship with Russell in a Substack post, detailing why he considers Russell “my friend, my mentor, my role model.”
- The Athletic’s Steve Buckley explores Russell’s tumultuous relationship with the city of Boston and how he eventually softened his stance on returning to the city in his later years.
- Despite the fact that many of the Celtics’ championships with Russell came at the expense of the Lakers, he was beloved in the city of Los Angeles, as Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register details.
- Former Celtics player and executive Danny Ainge said many former Boston players often spoke of Russell’s impact on their lives, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. “I had an opportunity to sit and talk for hours with many Celtic legends over the years: John Havlicek, KC Jones, Sam Jones, Tommy Heinsohn, Jo Jo White, Red Auerbach and many others,” Ainge said. “Their stories would often lead to conversations about the great Bill Russell. The influence he had on those he was so close with is impressive, but the impact he had on so many people everywhere is legendary.”
- Statistical analysis of Russell’s career cannot possibly compute his impact on the games he played and championships he won, Santul Nerkar and Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight.com argue.
- With current players taking stances on social issues, Russell’s legacy of fighting injustice will continue to be felt for many more years, Logan Murdock of The Ringer notes.