In the wake of Bill Russell‘s recent passing, the NBA has announced it will retire Russell’s No. 6 jersey throughout the league, confirming the decision in a press release on Thursday. The National Basketball Players Association put out the same announcement on its own website.
Players who currently wear No. 6, including Lakers superstar LeBron James, will be able to continue wearing it, but the number won’t be issued again by any team to any player going forward, according to today’s announcement.
“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 in a statement. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
“This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game,” NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio stated. “Bill’s actions on and off the court throughout the course of his life helped to shape generations of players for the better and for that, we are forever grateful. We are proud to continue the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league.”
Russell, who wore No. 6 for his entire NBA career from 1956-69, won a league-record 11 championships in just 13 seasons. In addition to his unprecedented success on the court, Russell was a trailblazer off of it, championing civil rights, equality, and inclusion. He became the first Black head coach in the NBA and in major U.S. sports when he was named the player-coach of the Celtics in 1966.
According to the NBA, the league will pay further tribute to Russell by having all players wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys during the 2022/23 season, with every NBA court displaying a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sidelines near the scorer’s table.
Besides James, 24 other NBA players wore the No. 6 in 2021/22, per Basketball-Reference. Many of those players are no longer under contract, but Bulls guard Alex Caruso, Pistons wing Hamidou Diallo, and Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis are among those who still wear the number and will be allowed to continue doing so.
51 thoughts on “NBA To Retire Bill Russell’s No. 6 Jersey Throughout League”
Why do i feel like LeBrom will change his number anyway
I’d imagine most of the players will. LeBron can just go back to 23.
Actually he can’t bc that’s Anthony Davis. The league probably wouldn’t let LeBron change his number and AD change his number in such a short time span. My guess would be AD stays 23 and LeBron goes to something else. Maybe they work it out AD changes again, but I know the league typically wants notification before changing that’s why he had to wait an extra year to go back to 6 for AD. Maybe they’ll make an exception.
AD has worn three ever since he joined the lakers
Ahh guess you’re right. I thought that’s why LBJchanged guess I’m wrong. Maybe I forgot cuz AD never is in his uniform
link to m.youtube.com … never in what? Boy u 0-2… L L
It was a joke bc he’s always hurt. I admitted I was wrong about the first part. I hardly think I’m taking “L’s” by commenting on a basketball page trying to have friendly conversations w. other ppl wanting to discuss basketball. Grow up
Shai is right AD has been number 3 since joining the Lakers and I’m sure the NBA would make an exception in this circumstance.
And try to copy mike
@shai and Taco
I actually disagree with you guys. I think it will make him want to keep 6 even more. Now it’s rare and extra special. Mariano kept 42 after it was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson. LeBron may wear the #6 now as a badge of honor and respect to Russell. To be the last player ever to wear it, and know that you’re also a legend honoring a former legend. That may appeal to LeBron.
I’d be interested to see if any sports book puts out odds on this, and what they would be if they did.
NFL should continue their tradition of rewarding serial abusers of women by retiring OJ’s #32 league wide. #LongLiveTheJuice .. $5M apiece should wired to bank accounts of Ben Roethlisberger & Deshaun Watson at the press conference
I was sad to see Gore get in trouble. I always liked him, but it’s not surprising. CTE contributes to violent behavior. See Walker, Herschel.
Ahhh ok, didn’t think about that. CTE might explain why Hershel Walker has been acting.
Herschel was messed up mentally from an early age bc he got bullied pretty bad. The CTE is just icing on the cake fr. I’d be lying if I said part of me isn’t hoping to see him win senate, then president (then ofc inevitably turn dictator) just to see the prophecy of Mike Judge’s classic Idiocracy come true
Uh, it already came true in 2016…
Wow you people really are delusional lmao
It’s only fitting. Incredible honor for the most deserving NBA player ever. Well done NBA
Well done Mr Bill Russell.
This is an honor that either should have been bestowed upon him while he was alive or not at all. This just reeks of the NBA taking advantage of the man’s death for publicity. I want nothing more to do with the NBA now.
It’s been fun chatting with you guys, but I won’t be back.
Oh, lord. Please, tell me this is sarcasm??
Are this blind to the world. Greed has taken over the world
No need to announce your departure.
Sad it took B.R dying and the league to bless us with you leaving. Peace out.
See you in October
Don’t agree with the precedent it sets.
If you’re doing this you have to retire the #23, right?
Pretty Ironic that James is the GOAT, but each of his numbers would be retired for someone else in that scenario.
if you don’t agree with the “precedent” then you need to educate yourself on Russell the player and Russell the person
I think the NBA should identify those players that impacted the game the most and all arenas have a ring of honor with those players jerseys displayed. It would be nice to explain to kids who those player were. Retiring numbers so other players can’t were them is stupid considering those players idolized said players in their youth and that’s why they chose the number.
Why do they never do things like this while the person is still alive?
Because it’s more difficult to profit off of it
I’m assuming you mean they would profit from jersey sales but how would that happen if the players wearing #6 are grandfathered in and don’t need to switch jersey numbers?
Yes because now the Pelicans and Nuggets can sell so many Russell #6 jerseys
I think let the team he played for retire the number. League wide? I understand about respect, but you keep doing this and you’ll run out of numbers before too long.
In 94 years they’ve retired one number league wide. At that pace they’re safe for a while.
There are at most 17 players on a roster at any given time, so all teams have a good 60 left to choose from.
I don’t think most of you get. What and why exactly the NBA retired his number. You need to read his whole story. And the story of the NBA. Bill Russell was a man for all times and ages. He’s a generational player. And a leader of men in turbulent times. Who used his gifts and talent. To transcend the sport of basketball. Truly a remarkable life and talent.
No number is getting retired cause you can dunk. Or were a so called Goat among plenty of GOATS.
I never saw Bill Russell play, but, on the historical record alone, it’s clear he was as foundational to the NBA as any player ever.
That said, no idea that originated with Bud Selig should ever be copied. The notion of retiring a player’s number (apart from retiring the jersey he actually wore) is ahistorical and moronic. Also, BTW Adam, NO, it’s actually a very clumsy way of honoring his legacy. In human affairs, the highest form of tribute is not worship, it’s emulation.
You can’t emulate. If you don’t who or what he did. Retired number across league. Means he had to be special. And hopefully makes you want to know why ……..
boy the point really flew over your head on this one…
Tbh it helps no one else prominent has worn 6 besides Lebron but he deserves it
Didn’t Dr J wear #6? Pretty sure he was fairly prominent.
Yes, Dr. J wore 6 in his NBA career (PHI). 32 with the Nets in the ABA.
At some point teams like the Lakers will run out of low numbers and will have to result to numbers like #62 for example
not a problem for the Yankees who probably have more retired numbers than any franchise. The nba might have 99 problems but retired jerseys ain’t one. :)
I feel like nowadays when people pass away, we have these types of reactions, and there are people that say certain things should be done, and then it becomes a big thing about those things that should be done, instead of it being about the person. Here this is a nice gesture and should be a situation of significant honor, but then why is it happening now? Why not when was alive? I feel like if you felt this was something you wanted to honor him with, you would have done so while he was alive. The Finals MVP trophy is named for Bill Russell, and he knew that. This just feels like pandering
Doesnt bother me or anything. Not trying to suggest he doesnt deserve it either. I’m just saying, this feels disingenuous
Ughh, stupid, pandering moves like this are just more evidence of the NBA’s decline under Adam Silver.
Yes, because record payrolls, profits, and TV deals are a decline. Surprised you’re not calling them “woke” for doing this.
Should have been done a long time ago
Honestly no other player since, including Jordan, meets the precedent for this like Russell does. What Russell did both on and off the court is a legacy that no one can touch. Jordan didn’t have the same humanitarian impact, though obviously he largely made the NBA what it is today. Kareem and Magic are probably the only guys whose off-court impact is half of what Russell’s was.