The NBA announced Thursday that it was retiring Bill Russell‘s No. 6 jersey by all 30 of the professional basketball league’s teams, the first time a player has been honored this way league-wide. Players currently wearing No. 6, including Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, can continue wearing it.
Russell, who died last month at age 88, was named NBA MVP five times in his 13-year playing career. He became the first Black head coach in U.S. professional sports when he was named player-coach in 1966, and led the team to titles in 1968 and 1969. “Bill Russell’s unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.