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Bill Russell’s No. 6 to be retired across NBA following his death


The NBA will honor the legacy of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell by retiring his No. 6 jersey for all 30 teams. This will make Russell the first player in NBA history to have his jersey retired leaguewide.

Additionally, all NBA players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys during the 2022-23 season, and every court will display a shamrock-shaped logo with Russell’s No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table.

“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.”

Starting with the 2022-23 season, no NBA team will be allowed to issue No. 6 to any player. Players who currently wear No. 6 may continue to do so. According to Basketball Reference, 25 players, including James, Kristaps Porzingis, Alex Caruso, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, wore No. 6 last season.

The NBA said the Celtics’ plans to honor Russell will be announced at a later date. Boston is planning a “separate and unique recognition” for Russell on its uniforms. The NBA previously recognized Russell’s contributions when it named the Finals MVP Award after him back in 2009.

Editorial credit: Debby Wong /

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