The late, great (and posthumous winner of "Hashtag Good Guy of the year: 1979") Bill Russell will join the likes of Jackie Robinson and Wayne Gretzky, becoming just the third athlete in North American professional sports to have his jersey number retired league-wide.
We all know why Jackie's number was retired and the significance of his career. Wayno is just a legend and simply the Great One; Russell is sort of a combination of the two in my eyes. From his activism and impact on the court, William Felton Russell thoroughly deserves this recognition. He's the greatest champion in NBA history and was a champion of Civil Rights and equality. I just wish he was alive to see this. That's the cruel thing about life; we wait til it's too late to say how much someone means to us.
Players that currently sport number 6 on their chest and back will still be allowed to, thanks to the grandfather clause, like how Mariano Rivera wore #42 until he retired in 2013, but I feel like the fact that Russell was #6 plays a minor factor in this honor. Again, I believe Bill is entirely worthy of this recognition, but 6 isn't exactly a sexy number (even though it's a major part of the most famous sex number).
Sure Lebron rocks it, but that's just out of respect to the devil. It's a different sport, but no #6 starting quarterback has ever won the Super Bowl. The two greatest #6 in sports, Bill Russell and Stan Musial played in the 60s. It's a punter number. It's not a huge loss and an easy decision for the association. Outside of Lebron, I can't think of another star #6 (that doesn't necessarily mean there isn't one, I'm just having a hard time thinking of one) in any sport. Jay Cutler, no way. Johnny Hekker, punter. I guess Joe Torre was a manager; that surely doesn't count. MAYBE one-time All-Star Kristap Porziņģis??? Six is just not that swaggy, but here's a list of NBA players who rocked that digit last season.