Boston Celtics Will Honor the Late Bill Russell With One-of-a-Kind Tribute
One of the most groundbreaking players in the history of the NBA is getting a groundbreaking honor to remember his passing.
Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who passed away in July at the age of 88, will be celebrated in a most unique way this season, and where he most belongs – on the storied parquet floor.
The Celtics announced on Monday that for the 2022-23 season, the team has added Russell’s No. 6 to both lanes to the basket “to pay homage to Bill Russell’s dominant play in the paint,” the team said in a release – the first time a numerical text will be displayed within that area on any NBA court.
It’s a fitting tribute for the Hall of Famer who defined what it meant to play in the paint during the Celtics’ dynastic run of 11 championships in 13 years, and it will serve as a reminder each and every home game this season of what Russ meant to the Celtics franchise and the NBA as a whole.
The league previously announced back in August that Russell’s No. 6 would be retired across the league, although players who currently wear it, such as the Lakers’ LeBron James, may continue to do so. It makes Russell’s No. 6 the first number to be retired league-wide in the NBA. Russell joins baseball’s Jackie Robinson (42) and hockey’s Wayne Gretzky (99) as the only men in the major sports to have their numbers retired league-wide.
The Celtics retired No. 6 in 1972.
In addition to the Celtics’ tribute in the paint, it was previously announced that every other NBA court will display a No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table this season.