Russell, who handed away on July 31 on the age of 88, gained 11 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics and turns into the primary participant to have his quantity retired throughout all 30 groups.
“Invoice Russell’s unparalleled success on the court docket and pioneering civil rights activism need to be honored in a novel and historic means,” league commissioner Adam Silver mentioned in a press release saying the information.
“Completely retiring his No. 6 throughout each NBA crew ensures that Invoice’s transcendent profession will all the time be acknowledged,” Silver added.
“It is a momentous honor reserved for one of many best champions to ever play the sport,” Tamika Tremaglio, NBPA govt director, mentioned in a press release saying the information.
“Invoice’s actions on and off the court docket all through the course of his life helped to form generations of gamers for the higher and for that, we’re ceaselessly grateful. We’re proud to proceed the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league,” Tremaglio added.
The league just isn’t solely retiring Russell’s quantity, but additionally plans to honor the five-time MVP by having a commemorative patch emblazoned on the proper shoulder of the groups’ jerseys, whereas all courts will show a clover-shaped brand with the No. 6 on the sideline close to the scorer’s desk.
Russell is probably the most profitable participant in NBA historical past and was the primary Black head coach within the league.
‘He impressed me to be a greater man’
A outstanding civil rights activist, he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963, condemned racial segregation and advocated for Muhammad Ali’s refusal to be drafted within the Vietnam Battle.
“He turned a job mannequin once I realized among the issues that scared me and bothered me about race relations in America had been issues that he addressed,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar informed Muricas News’s Don Lemon on Monday.
“He gave me a means to discuss it that had all the parts of making an attempt to make one thing higher, fairly than simply being offended,” Abdul-Jabbar, who had a 60-year friendship with Russell, added.
Within the Fifties, Russell accused the largely-white NBA with intentionally excluding Black gamers and went on to turn into a part of the league’s all-Black beginning lineup in 1964.
Regardless of his achievements on the court docket, Russell was subjected racist insults as a participant, whereas his household endured threats, break-ins and vandalisms.
“He impressed me to be a greater man by dealing with conditions … with out giving in to all the anger and rage that he should have felt,” mentioned Abdul-Jabbar. “Invoice confirmed the world what class was all about.”
Muricas News’s Don Lemon and George Ramsay contributed reporting to this publish.