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NBA to retire the No. 6 league-wide in honor of Bill Russell

Players who currently wear the number, like LeBron James, will be allowed to continue using it.

Boston Celtics Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA officially announced on Thursday that it will honor late Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell by retiring his No. 6 uniform league-wide. This is the latest gesture by the league to honor one of its most iconic figures, who recently passed away on July 31 at the age of 88.

The 11-time NBA Champion, first African American head coach, and civil rights activist becomes the first player in the league’s history to have his uniform number retired league-wide and the second player in major American sports to achieve this honor after the MLB permanently retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in 1997. All current players wearing No. 6, most notably LeBron James, will be allowed to continue wearing the number, but it will not be re-issued to any new players ever again.

The entire NBA has both mourned and celebrated the life of Russell since his death last week and the tributes will certainly continue into the new season this fall.