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N.B.A announced Thursday will honor Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell by retiring his No. 6 jersey.

“Bill Russell’s unparalleled success in the courtroom and pioneering civil rights activism deserve special and historic recognition,” said Commissioner Adam Silver. “Having the No. 6 permanently retired by every NBA team ensures that Bill’s timeless career will always be recognized.”

Players who wear the number 6 can still continue, but the number will be retired immediately.

In 1997 MLB He retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 jersey to commemorate Robinson’s 50th anniversary of the streak.

In the year Russell, who died on July 31 at the age of 88, was the first NBA player to have his jersey retired. It’s a distinction befitting his success on the court and his legacy.

The 6’10” center won two straight titles at the University of San Francisco before becoming a 12-time All-Star, 11-time NBA champion and five-time MVP. He averaged 16.2 points and 24.9 rebounds in a 13-year career, establishing himself as one of the greatest players of all time. .

The Celtics named him player/head coach in 1966, making him the first black head coach in the NBA. He won back-to-back titles in his role in 1968 and 1969.

Russell was a civil rights pioneer. In the year He participated in the 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. March on Washington and was one of the athletes who supported Muhammad Ali at the event. Cleveland Summit. In 1961, he Boycott center Before the Celtics exhibition in Lexington, Kentucky, two of his teammates, Sam Jones and Thomas Sanders, were denied service at a local coffee shop.

Russell didn’t run away either. By mentioning racism In the year It happened in Boston in the 1960s to turn the Celtics into a dynasty.

Sociologist Harry Edwards described Russell as “cool” in a 2019 interview with Anscape. Martenzi Johnson.

“He’s probably one of the smartest, most intellectual, most athletic people I’ve ever met,” Edwards said.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reflected to Johnson on how Russell influenced his own career.

“What struck me the most was that he approached injustice with emotion, but expressed himself rationally, not through anger,” Abdul-Jabbar said. That was the approach I tried. accept”

In addition to retiring the jersey, the NBA will honor Russell’s life by wearing a commemorative jersey and placing a commemorative logo near the scorers’ table.

President Barack Obama In 2011, they awarded Russell the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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