NBA retires Celtics legend Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey across league

AP file photo by Steven Senne / The No. 6 of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who died on July 31, has been retired by the NBA. Russell — who won 11 titles with the Celtics, the last two as a player-coach — and also made an impact as a civil right activist, is the first player to have his number retired across the league.

Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey is being retired across the NBA, a first for the league.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced Thursday that the number worn by the late Boston Celtics star - an 11-time NBA champion and a civil rights activist enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach - was being permanently retired by all 30 teams.

"Bill Russell's unparalleled success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way," commissioner Adam Silver said in a release announcing the move. "Permanently retiring his No. 6 across every NBA team ensures that Bill's transcendent career will always be recognized."

Players who currently wear No. 6, including the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, may continue doing so, but the number cannot be issued again, the league said.