The National Basketball League and National Basketball Players Association on Thursday announced that the No. 6 worn by 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell would be permanently retired across the league to honor his life and legacy.
Players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys throughout the 2022-23 season to pay tribute to Russell, who passed away on July 31. Every team will also display a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 to honor the Boston Celtics legend on the sidelines near the scorer’s table.
The Celtics will have a unique recognition for Russell on their uniforms.
Bill Russell won a record 11 NBA championships and earned five MVP awards. He is one of only four players to be named to all four NBA anniversary teams (25th, 35th, 50th and 75th).
More on his extraordinary career ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/YWShOei3Mo
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 31, 2022
Players currently wearing the No. 6 will be permitted to continue doing so but the number will not be issued again by any team to any player. The league also confirmed that if any of those players change teams, they will be able to continue wearing the number.
With the No. 6 now retired, Rookie Wire took a look at those players that donned that number last season and could wear it again during the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.
Note: Information via Basketball-Reference.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Utah Jazz
Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Alexander-Walker has worn the No. 6 now with the New Orleans Pelicans and Jazz. He was drafted by the Pelicans 17th in 2019 and traded to the Jazz at the trade deadline in February.
Moses Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers
Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Brown suited up for the Dallas Mavericks and Cavaliers last season. He finished the year with Cleveland and signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Los Angeles Clippers last month.
Shaq Buchanan, Memphis Grizzlies
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Buchanan logged two appearances with the Grizzlies after signing via the hardship exception. After the season, he played with Memphis during summer league.
Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Zylan Cheatham, Utah Jazz
Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Cheatham played one game with the Jazz after signing via the hardship exception. He wore the No. 6 prior to the arrival of Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Gabriel Deck, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Deck was with the Thunder during the past two seasons but was waived in January. He opted to return overseas and will play the 2022-23 season with Real Madrid in Spain.
Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
David Duke Jr., Brooklyn Nets
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Bryn Forbes, Minnesota Timberwolves
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Forbes wore the No. 6 last season with the Denver Nuggets. However, he signed with the Timberwolves over the offseason and will likely need to change numbers as Jordan McLaughlin currently wears No. 6.
Melvin Frazier Jr., Oklahoma City Thunder
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Frazier played just three games with the Thunder and joined the team after it waived Gabriel Deck, who also wore No. 6. He is currently a free agent.
Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Montrezl Harrell, Washington Wizards
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Harrell wore No. 6 with the Wizards last season but was eventually sent to the Charlotte Hornets at the trade deadline. He wore No. 8 with the Hornets.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
James has infamously alternated jersey numbers from 23 to 6 throughout his career. He started off his stint with the Lakers in No. 23 but changed last season to No. 6, which he last wore with the Miami Heat.
Keon Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Johnson was drafted last year 21st by the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded at the deadline to Portland. He switched numbers from 45 to 6 upon joining the Trail Blazers.
KJ Martin, Houston Rockets
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen McDaniels, Charlotte Hornets
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Jordan McLaughlin, Minnesota Timberwolves
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Kevin Pangos, Cleveland Cavaliers
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Pangos began last season with the Cavaliers but was eventually waived in February. He will play the 2022-23 season with Olimpia Milano in Italy.
Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Porizingis has worn the No. 6 in each stop during his NBA career to this point and kept that tradition going when he was traded from Dallas to Washington at the deadline.
Javonte Smart, Milwaukee Bucks
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Smart played 13 games with the Bucks before he joined the Miami Heat later in the season. He opted to go with No. 15 in Miami.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Rayjon Tucker, Denver Nuggets
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Tucker had a brief run with the Nuggets and donned No. 6 for three games. He later joined the Milwaukee Bucks and picked No. 59 for his jersey number.
Luca Vildoza, Milwaukee Bucks
Vildoza debuted with the Bucks in the playoffs last season. He was waived in the offseason and re-signed to a non-guaranteed contract last month.
Tyrone Wallace, New Orleans Pelicans
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Wallace signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Pelicans last season. He opted to play next season overseas and will be with Paris Basketball.
Lou Williams, Atlanta Hawks
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports