The NBA needs to honor Bill Russell by retiring leaguewide No. 6

It is very important to leave some legacies alone, to believe that society will cherish them appropriately and celebrate them regularly. They require special attention and direct action to ensure that memories do not fade with the passage of time.

bill russell Those legacies are one of those, and the NBA must be doing the right thing.

They need to retire the leaguewide No. 6 uniform, honoring Russell in the same way. Major League Baseball honors Jackie Robinson,

The similarities between the two men, the greatest athletic performers of all time, who fought against prejudice and bigotry with equal intensity, make the tribute an easy choice.

“In every generation people make a difference not only by their sport, but also by their personality,” Jerry West told The Times ‘Bill Plaschke’ on Sunday. “Bill Russell and Jackie Robinson Was in the same class.”

Twenty-five NBA players wore the number 6 last season, with only numbers 3, 5, 8, 9 and 11 being more popular) – LeBron James is among the group currently wearing it. The league can certainly let players end their careers in Russell’s numbers. But no one else should be wearing it—a damn final gesture of respect for the incredible impression Russell made of what it means to be an NBA champion and, more importantly, what it means to be a socially concerned and connected member of society. Ready to stand up to injustice.

It has become the template for what it means to be an NBA player.

On the court, Russell played basketball with supreme accuracy, emphasizing defense and rebounding as a means to win. He did it better than anyone – 11 NBA championships, two college titles, and an Olympic gold medal.

He was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times despite not averaging 20 points per game.

He became the league’s first black head coach, and by winning a championship, helped open the doors for those who followed.

He is already named in the trophy awarded to the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals, but it is not enough.

By retiring Russell’s number and celebrating him on or around his birthday on February 12, the NBA yearbook can tell Russell’s story to those who need to be reminded of it.

“My mother told me I should never fight with anyone, but I should always end the fight I was in,” Russell wrote in Slam magazine in 2020. I have to end one more fight.”

That fight was, of course, for humanity and equality against those who treated black people with hatred.

Russell led the boycott of black players in 1961 From an exhibition game in Lexington, Ky., two companions were refused service at a coffee shop. As part of the 1967 Cleveland Summit, he met Muhammad Ali with some of the sport’s biggest black stars.

He challenged racist fans in Boston and did not host integrated basketball camps in Mississippi after the murder of civil rights activist Medgar Evers and simply refused to pay respects.

He faced injustice with wit and anger, a combination that did not go down well with many.

Yet speaking up and speaking has become commonplace in the NBA—and Russell deserves credit for creating it.

“The Bill stood for something much bigger than the sport: the values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion they stamped into the DNA of our league,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on Sunday. “At the height of his athletic career, Bill vigorously advocated for civil rights and social justice, a legacy he passed on to generations of NBA players who followed in his footsteps.

“Through taunts, threats and unimaginable adversity, Bill has risen above all this and lived up to his belief that everyone deserves to be treated with respect.”

In a league where it has largely become a safe space for expression against inequality and injustice, protecting Russell’s legacy is too important to give it a chance.

While Russell may have been uncomfortable with such a tribute, the stakes are high.

6 was in every region of the NBA and had a day dedicated to its greatest champion, the league could ensure that Russell’s story remained fresh.

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