This afternoon, the NBA announced that all 30 teams will retire #6 in honor of Bill Russell.
The life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell will be honored by retiring his uniform number, 6, throughout the league. The iconic Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer will be the first player to have his number retired across the NBA. pic.twitter.com/OSVx02bQDl— NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2022
No other player has their number retired league wide. In doing so, the NBA will follow the MLB’s lead in retiring Jackie Robinson’s number 42. In the official statement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the following:
“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way... Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
Guys who currently wear number 6 include Alex Caruso, Lou Williams, Kristaps Porziņģis, and that forward for the Lakers... what’s his name... oh yeah, LeBron James.
When the MLB retired number 42 in 1997 to honor Jackie Robinson, players who still wore the number got to keep it, and the same rule will apply with the NBA. Julius Irving, Walter Davis, and Avery Johnson already have number 6 retired with the Sixers, Suns, and Spurs, respectively. This is a great move to honor the legacy of one of the most important athletes in the history of professional sports.