Russell, who handed away on July 31 on the age of 88, received 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 courtroom and pioneering civil rights activism need to be honored in a novel and historic approach,” league commissioner Adam Silver mentioned in an announcement asserting the information.
“Completely retiring his No. 6 throughout each NBA staff ensures that Invoice’s transcendent profession will all the time be acknowledged,” Silver added.
“It is a momentous honor reserved for one of many biggest champions to ever play the sport,” Tamika Tremaglio, NBPA government director, mentioned in an announcement asserting the information.
“Invoice’s actions on and off the courtroom 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 shouldn’t be solely retiring Russell’s quantity, but additionally plans to honor the five-time MVP by having a commemorative patch emblazoned on the appropriate shoulder of the groups’ jerseys, whereas all courts will show a clover-shaped emblem with the No. 6 on the sideline close to the scorer’s desk.
Russell is essentially 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 distinguished 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 Conflict.
“He grew to become a task mannequin after 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 instructed CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday.
“He gave me a approach to discuss it that had the entire parts of attempting to make one thing higher, slightly than simply being indignant,” Abdul-Jabbar, who had a 60-year friendship with Russell, added.
Within the Nineteen 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 courtroom, 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 the entire anger and rage that he will need to have felt,” mentioned Abdul-Jabbar. “Invoice confirmed the world what class was all about.”
CNN’s Don Lemon and George Ramsay contributed reporting to this publish.