NBA announces the retirement of Bill Russell's No.6 for all 30 teams

 | August 16, 2022

Russell is the first player to have his number retired throughout the entire league.

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Both the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) made the announcement that Bill Russell’s jersey number (6), would be retired for all 30 teams.

Russell becomes the first player in NBA history to have his jersey retired leaguewide. In addition to the jersey number retirement, players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys during the 2022-23 season.

Every court in the NBA will also display a shamrock-shaped logo with Russell's No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer's table.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: “Bill Russell's unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserves 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.”

Players already wearing the number (LeBron James, Kristaps Porzingis, etc.) may continue to do so. The new rule states that no team can issue the number from the 2022-23 season forward.

Since the number was already issued to these players it doesn’t fall under the new rule. At the moment, 25 players including James, Porzingis, Alex Caruso, Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams, wore No. 6 last season.

In a statement, NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio commented: “This is a momentous honor reserved for one of the greatest champions to ever play the game.

“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 passed away on July 31, 2022, at the age of 88.

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The Author

Ricky Gray

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