January 13, 2023 – The Charlotte Hornets today announced they will unveil a banner at Spectrum Center commemorating the No. 6 jersey of Bill Russell, which was retired throughout the NBA following his passing in July, during their game against Russell’s Boston Celtics on Saturday, January 14.
A civil rights pioneer and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer whose NBA career included a record 11 NBA Championships, five NBA MVP awards, 12 NBA All-Star appearances and 11 All-NBA Team selections, Russell is the first player to have his number retired across the NBA. Players who wore No. 6 at the time of the NBA’s announcement in August 2022, such as Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, are grandfathered, but no new player will be issued the number.
Additional league-wide tributes to Russell this season include a black No. 6 patch appearing on every NBA jersey and a clover-shaped logo with the No. 6 being located on the sideline of every NBA court.
Russell, who was the first Black head coach in NBA history when he became player-head coach for his final three seasons with the Celtics, was awarded the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his athletic feats and lifelong commitment to social justice.
Following Russell’s passing, Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan said in a statement, “Bill Russell was a pioneer – as a player, as a champion, as the NBA’s first Black head coach and as an activist. He paved the way and set an example for every Black player who came into the league after him, including me. The world has lost a legend.”