Words cannot simply describe the impact that Bill Russell made on the NBA; his pioneering and thinking will be sorely missed by all. But his legacy lives on as some notable figures around the League feel that No. 6 should be immortalized by the NBA.
Count Lakers legend Magic Johnson amongst the many calling for Bill Russell’s number to be retired across all of the NBA.
Russell would join Jackie Robinson in a select class of retired numbers in North American sports; Robinson had his number 42 retired all over Major League Baseball.
Magic Johnson wants the 11-time champs number retired to honor everything Russell did beyond the lines of play. Russell’s work as a champion and life activist has certainly earned him the right, and Johnson believes that legacy furthers his case for a League-wide jersey retirement.
Some NBA players do still wear the No. 6, most notably LeBron James, who switched from 23 to 6 after his first three years in Laker land.
“It’s always been a part of me, to be honest,” James said in 2021. “Six has a lot of meaning to me, from my family and numbers and things of that nature to what I believe in and things of that sort, but my mentality doesn’t change.”
No comment has been made yet by James or NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, but Johnson’s pitch on Twitter is a great suggestion.