The NBA has announced a league-wide retirement of the No. 6 jersey in Honor of the Legend Bill Russell, who passed away on 31st July at the age of 88. Russell is arguably the Greatest Winner in the history of the NBA and was a civil rights pioneer during his prime.
Nobody has raised an objection to the NBA honoring Russell like this, but the decision did raise many questions. The most natural question was regarding players that already wear No. 6 and whether they’ll be made to change their jersey number. The most notable player wearing the number is LeBron James, who changed to No. 6 from No. 23 at the start of the 2021-22 season.
Outside LeBron, 19 players in the NBA like Kristaps Porzingis, Alex Caruso, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell,, Quentin Grimes, and others are currently wearing the number. They will be allowed to continue wearing the number in the following seasons, but no new NBA player will be issued the no. 6 ever again.
With the decision to retire the number, many have wondered whether this will be the catalyst for another number change for LeBron. He announced changing his jersey number from 23 to 6 ahead of the release of Space Jam 2, where he was wearing No. 6.
With Space Jam 2 in the rearview, LeBron may want to switch back to his old jersey number out of respect to the Legacy of Russell. LBJ also wore the number during his stint with the Miami Heat, as they had already retired 23 in respect to Michael Jordan.
No player will be forced or coerced into changing their jersey number, but it will be weird for players to wear a number that has been retired to honor one of the league’s biggest legends. If LeBron decides to leave 6 behind, he will have his ever-reliable No. 23 waiting for him.