Bill Russell is first-ever NBA player to have number retired by league

Obit-Bill Russell Basketball
Posted at 4:51 PM, Aug 11, 2022

The National Basketball Association is set to retire Boston Celtics great Bill Russell's number, marking the first time the league has retired a player's number.

The move was announced jointly by the league and the National Basketball Players Association on Thursday.

The 11-time champion wore the No. 6 his entire NBA career, and it'll now be permanently retired by all 30 teams.

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a press release. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”

For those currently playing in the NBA and wearing the No. 6, like Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, the league said they could continue to do so, but the number cannot be issued by times anymore.

The league added that a commemorative patch on the right shoulder would be displayed on every NBA jersey this upcoming season.

Also, this season, the league said a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 will be displayed on every NBA court on the sideline near the scorer’s table.

Russell passed away at the age of 88 on July 31.