The sports world is still mourning the loss of the great Bill Russell. NBA players both past and present have paid their respects to the Celtics legend whose career stands singular even among the NBA’s greatest players. Russell’s winning legacy has already been memorialized through the NBA Finals MVP trophy, and until recently, Russell would appear at the Finals each season to present the trophy to its recipient. It was always a special moment because of the immense respect every player had not only for Russell’s legacy of winning, but also his contributions to the civil rights movement in a time where he faced intense racism.
In the aftermath of his passing, NBA legend Magic Johnson expressed his belief that the league should find another way to honor Russell. Johnson tweeted out his belief that NBA commissioner Adam Silver should retire Russell’s number 6 jersey league-wide.
Commissioner Adam Silver should retire number 6 across the @NBA in honor of Bill Russell’s legacy!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) August 2, 2022
The NBA does not currently have a number that is retired across the league. The closest parallel would be Jackie Robinson’s number 42, which is retired for all teams in Major League Baseball. The gesture would be fitting to commemorate a career that covered the horizon of the NBA world and went far beyond the court. Russell is as instrumental to the success of the NBA as any other person, it would only be fair that his number hang in the rafters forever.