NBA Retiring Celtics Legend Bill Russell’s No. 6, Lebron and Others Will Be Last

The NBA is retiring the No. 6 of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, and will be honoring his legacy next season in multiple ways, while 25 players who wore 6 last season — including Lebron James — will be the last to wear the number.

NBA to retire Bill Russell's No. 6

In an unprecedented move for the NBA, the league is retiring the No. 6 of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, The move was announced by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association on Thursday, ESPN reported.

Russell becomes only the third player across major sports leagues (NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL) to retire a player's number league-wide, NBC Sports reported. Russell will join the NHL's Wayne Gretzky (No. 99) in hockey and the MLB's Jackie Robinson (No. 42) in baseball as the only three players to have their jersey number retired throughout an individual sport's professional league.

League will honor Russell with commemorative patch

Bill Russell's legacy will be honored by the NBA during the 2022-23 Season.

"All NBA players will wear a commemorative patch on the right shoulder of their jerseys, and every NBA court will display a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 on the sideline near the scorer’s table," the league said in a statement. "The Celtics, for whom Russell played his entire career and coached, will have a separate and unique recognition for him on their uniforms, to be announced soon."

Retirement of No. 6 to be grandfathered in

Twenty-five players in the NBA wore No. 6 during the 2021-22 NBA season, and the league said it will "grandfather in" the retirement of the number, NBC Sports reported. Meaning a gradual phaseout, allowing players who already wear the number to continue doing so until they retire. These current NBA players can also decide to make a number switch now or continue with their number until retirement. For example, Lebron James has already switched his number three times during his NBA career.

The 25 players currently wearing No. 6 are:

Nickeil Alexander-Walker (NOP/UTA)

Moses Brown (CLE)

Shaq Buchanan (MEM)

Alex Caruso (CHI)

Zylan Cheatham (UTA)

Gabriel Deck (OKC)

Hamidou Diallo (DET)

David Duke Jr. (BRK)

Bryn Forbes (DEN)

Melvin Frazier (OKC)

Quentin Grimes (NYK)

Montrezl Harrell (WAS)

LeBron James (LAL)

Keon Johnson (POR)

Kenyon Martin Jr. (HOU)

Jalen McDaniels (CHO)

Jordan McLaughlin (MIN)

Kevin Pangos (CLE)

Kristaps Porzingis (DAL/WAS)

Javonte Smart (MIL)

Lance Stephenson (IND)

Rayjon Tucker (DEN)

Luca Vildoza (MIL)

Tyrone Wallace (NOP)

Lou Williams (ATL)