Invoice Russell given Jackie Robinson remedy as NBA retires No 6 jersey

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Invoice Russell’s No 6 jersey is being retired throughout the NBA. The NBA and the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation made the announcement on Thursday, completely retiring the quantity worn by the 11-time champion, civil rights activist and somebody ok to have been enshrined within the Basketball Corridor of Fame as each a participant and a coach.

Russell turns into the primary participant to have his quantity retired league-wide.

“Invoice Russell’s unparalleled success on the court docket and pioneering civil rights activism need to be honored in a novel and historic manner,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated. “Completely retiring his No 6 throughout each NBA workforce ensures that Invoice’s transcendent profession will at all times be acknowledged.”

Gamers who presently put on No 6 – together with the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James – could proceed doing so. However the quantity can’t be issued once more, the league stated. All NBA gamers will put on a patch on the precise shoulder of their jerseys this season, the league stated, and each NBA court docket will show a clover-shaped brand with the No 6 on the sideline close to the scorer’s desk.

The Boston Celtics have “separate and distinctive recognition for him on their uniforms” deliberate, the NBA stated.

Invoice Russell (left), Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have been eager champions of civil rights. {Photograph}: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Russell died on 31 July on the age of 88. He was probably the most prolific winner in NBA historical past, an 11-time champion throughout a 13-year profession – successful the final two of these titles as a player-coach – and the primary Black coach in any of the main US professional sports activities to win a championship.

He marched with Martin Luther King Jr, stood with Muhammad Ali and obtained the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

And having his quantity retired leaguewide places him in a really unique membership. Main League Baseball completely retired No 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, with the understanding that those that have been carrying that quantity may proceed to take action. Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees was the final within the majors to put on No 42, doing so by his ultimate season in 2013.

The NHL, upon Wayne Gretzky’s retirement in 1999, stated his No 99 can be retired leaguewide in honor of that sport’s all-time scoring chief.

And now, Russell will get the identical remedy. It additionally appears becoming that he and Robinson, each barrier-breakers, are linked once more. Russell known as Robinson a hero, as soon as saying that “he confirmed me the way in which to be a person in skilled sports activities.”

Robinson held Russell in excessive esteem as nicely. Rachel Robinson, his widow, requested Russell to be a pallbearer at her husband’s funeral in 1972.

Bill Russell was an 11-time NBA champion
Invoice Russell was an 11-time NBA champion. {Photograph}: Invoice Chaplis/AP

“It is a momentous honor reserved for one of many best champions to ever play the sport,” NBPA government director Tamika Tremaglio stated. “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 endlessly grateful. We’re proud to proceed the celebration of his life and legacy alongside the league.”

There have been greater than 250 gamers in NBA historical past to put on a No 6 jersey, together with 24 who did so in not less than one sport final season most notably, James, who has alternated between 6 and 23 all through his NBA profession.

No person has worn No 6 for the Celtics since Russell’s ultimate season, 1968-69.

Russell is certainly one of 12 gamers presently enshrined within the Basketball Corridor of Fame who wore No 6 at not less than some level of their careers. The others are Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Ben Wallace, Don Barksdale, Chuck Cooper, Larry Costello, Tom Gola, Cliff Hagan, Alex Hannum, Buddy Jeanette and Neil Johnston.


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