For an exceptional player, an exceptional tribute. Record holder of NBA titles, with eleven coronations between 1957 and 1969 under the colors of the Boston Celtics, Bill Russell died on July 31 at the age of 88. As the start of the 2022-2023 season approaches, the NBA and the players’ union (NBPA) have reached an agreement to pay tribute to this legend of the North American basketball league, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1975. While all teams will wear a crest commemorating Bill Russell’s career on their shirts at right shoulder level while a trefoil logo with the number 6 will be affixed to the pitches throughout the season. Added to this is an unprecedented measure in the history of the NBA. Indeed, from the 2022-2023 season, all the teams will withdraw the number 6 that Bill Russell wore during his entire career, between 1956 and 1969.
The NBA and NBPA announced today that they will honor the life and legacy of 11-time NBA champion and civil rights pioneer Bill Russell by permanently retiring his uniform number, 6, throughout the league.
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— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) August 11, 2022
Silver: ‘Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized’
However, players who currently wear the number 6 within their team will be able to keep it until the end of their contract. “Bill Russell’s unprecedented success on the court and his 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 number 6 on all NBA teams ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized. For her part, the NBPA general manager said the retirement of number 6 is “a major honor reserved for one of the greatest champions in the history of basketball”. “Bill’s actions on and off the court throughout his life have helped shape generations of players for the better, and for that we are eternally grateful to him,” she added. We are proud to continue to celebrate his life and legacy alongside the league. »