The Meaning Behind the Number 6 Patch on NBA Jerseys

During the NBA preseason, keen observers may have noticed a distinct addition to all 32 NBA jerseys. This season, the standard jersey elements—team names, player numbers, and sponsors—are joined by a unique detail: a modest badge bearing the number 6, proudly positioned on the right shoulder of each NBA player’s uniform.

Honoring Russell: An MVP Both on the Court and for Civil Rights

The league’s gesture is a poignant tribute to one of the league’s most celebrated figures, Bill Russell. Recognized as the most triumphant player in NBA history, Russell’s passing earlier this summer evoked a flood of emotions and appreciation for his legacy as a Hall of Famer.

Beyond his basketball prowess, Russell’s impact resonated far beyond the court. A passionate advocate for civil rights, he stood as a symbol of progress during a tumultuous era marked by racial and social injustices. Throughout his tenure with the Boston Celtics, a period fraught with racial tensions, Russell’s championship victories helped mend the city’s wounds. His remarkable 14-year career yielded an astounding 11 NBA titles with the Celtics and five individual NBA MVP awards.

Retirement of No. 6 Across the League

While his endeavors couldn’t entirely heal Boston’s struggles, Russell remained steadfast in his support of the Civil Rights Movement. Utilizing his platform as an athlete, he championed equality and was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

The league’s homage to this basketball luminary extends beyond the jersey patches. For the first time in NBA history, a number will be retired league-wide. The clover emblem, incorporating the number six, will grace each stadium’s sideline, positioned right in front of the scorers’ table.

Players currently donning the number six will continue to do so until their retirement. The likes of Demarcus Cousins, Alex Caruso, and LeBron James will carry on wearing their beloved number, honoring Russell’s legacy. However, incoming players will not be permitted to adopt the number.

Boston’s Homage to a Legend

The Celtics, who embark on a new season following a challenging period, are set to pay homage to their fallen hero. The number six will be emblazoned within the free throw lane, accompanied by a ceremony commemorating Russell’s remarkable life and contributions.

As the Celtics brace themselves after an eventful offseason, marred by setbacks and changes, they are poised to begin anew. With their season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers scheduled for tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Celtics have an opportunity to turn the page and channel their energy into their on-court performance.

I have been collecting memorabilia for half of my life. I started very small with a few trading cards and since then I am more and more interested in the subject. I read a lot in Facebook groups, collect especially Jordan memorabilia. I'm happy if you like my content.

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