“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in 'n verklaring gesê. “Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill’s transcendent career will always be recognized.”
Russell is the greatest winner in the history of the NBA. In sy 13 seisoene, his team won the NBA Finals 11 keer, with eight of them coming in consecutive seasons. He made the Finals in all but one season.
Russell is one of two athletes in the major U.S. sports to achieve 11 championship titles, along with the Montreal Canadiens’ Henri Richard.
Maar, as Silver said, Russell will forever be remembered for his work off the court.
“But for all the winning, Bill’s understanding of the struggle is what illuminated his life,” Russell’s family said in the statement announcing his passing. “From boycotting a 1961 exhibition game to unmask too-long-tolerated discrimination, to leading Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in the combustible wake of Medgar [Evers’] sluipmoord, to decades of activism recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor that he intended would disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example that, though never his humble intention, will forever inspire teamwork, selflessness and thoughtful change.”
Russell also became the first Black head coach in professional sports in 1966, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame on two separate occasions, both as a player and as a coach.
The NBA Finals MVP Award bears his name, and his jersey number had already been retired by the Celtics.
It is the first number to be retired throughout the NBA, and just the third to be retired across a major U.S. sports league, along with Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in MLB and Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 in the NHL.