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NBA retires No. 6 jerseys, to add jersey patch honoring late Bill Russell

Aug 11, 2022, 12:28 PM
Bill Russell, left, star of the Boston Celtics is congratulated by coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach afte...

Bill Russell, left, star of the Boston Celtics is congratulated by coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach after scoring his 10,000th point in the NBA game against the Baltimore Bullets in Boston Garden on Dec. 12, 1964. (AP Photo/Bill Chaplis, file)

(AP Photo/Bill Chaplis, file)

Bill Russell’s No. 6 jersey is being retired across the NBA.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association made the announcement Thursday, permanently retiring the number worn by the 11-time champion, civil rights activist and someone good enough to have been enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

Russell, who died in July at 88 years old, becomes the first player to have his number retired leaguewide.

“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.”

Players who currently wear No. 6 — including the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James — may continue doing so. But the number cannot be issued again, the league said.

All NBA players will wear a patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys this season, the league said, and every NBA court will display a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table.

The Boston Celtics have “separate and unique recognition for him on their uniforms” planned, the NBA said.

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NBA retires No. 6 jerseys, to add jersey patch honoring late Bill Russell