Sports

Bill Russell’s No. 6 Joins Rare Class of Retired Jersey Numbers

Invoice Russell, who died final month at 88, is getting a uncommon honor: His No. 6 shall be retired, not only for his group, the Boston Celtics, however for all the N.B.A. Amongst main sports activities, solely Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in baseball and Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99 in hockey have been retired leaguewide.

That raises some questions, which we’ll endeavor to reply.

These gamers, amongst them LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, could proceed to put on No. 6 till they retire. However no new gamers shall be issued the quantity. The identical rule utilized when Robinson’s quantity was retired baseball-wide in 1997. Mariano Rivera of the Yankees was the final participant nonetheless carrying No. 42 day-after-day when he retired in 2013.

Sure, fairly a couple of, together with Julius Erving. However the leaguewide retirement honors solely Russell.

There was a push for baseball to retire Roberto Clemente’s No. 21 leaguewide to honor his humanitarian work. Specifically, many Puerto Rican gamers have stated they might not put on the quantity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated that Clemente is honored in his personal approach with the Roberto Clemente Award, given for sportsmanship and neighborhood service.

Within the 4 most venerable males’s leagues, the Yankees (21, with extra deliberate this 12 months), Boston Celtics (23), Montreal Canadiens (15) and Chicago Bears (14). Many W.N.B.A. groups have retired the numbers of their finest gamers, together with the Los Angeles Sparks, who retired Lisa Leslie’s No. 9.

In baseball, 38; soccer, 2; males’s basketball, 26; and males’s hockey, 25.

Plenty of groups have retired a symbolic microphone for a legendary announcer, reminiscent of Vin Scully for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chick Hearn for the Los Angeles Lakers. Some baseball gamers who competed earlier than the daybreak of uniform numbers are honored numberless: Rogers Hornsby by the St. Louis Cardinals and Grover Cleveland Alexander by the Phillies, for instance.

In fact the Chicago Bulls retired Michael Jordan’s No. 23. However so did the Miami Warmth, although Jordan by no means performed for them. Pat Riley, the group president, stated, “We retired his jersey as a result of I had a lot respect for him.” Pete Maravich by no means performed for the New Orleans Pelicans, however he had performed for Louisiana State and the New Orleans Jazz, so the Pelicans retired his No. 7 anyway.

Kobe Bryant wore No. 8 for the primary half of his profession and No. 24 for the second. The Lakers retired each numbers for him.

The Yankees had two nice catchers who wore No. 8: Yogi Berra and Invoice Dickey. Now, the quantity is retired to honor each of them. Amongst others who share a retired quantity: Greg Maddux and Ferguson Jenkins, No. 31 for the Cubs; Lem Barney, Billy Sims and Barry Sanders, No. 20 for the Detroit Lions; Man Lapointe and Bernie Geoffrion, No. 5 for the Canadiens.

No. 00 has been retired (Robert Parish of the Celtics, for one), however so has 1,223, to honor the teaching victories of Jerry Sloan for the Utah Jazz.

Though the custom just isn’t as widespread in world soccer and different worldwide sports activities, some golf equipment have retired a quantity or two. Among the many notables: Johan Cruyff, No. 14 for Ajax; Bobby Moore, No. 6 for West Ham; and Diego Maradona, whose No. 10 was retired by Napoli.

It’s more durable for worldwide groups. In an occasion just like the World Cup, the 23-player squads have been required to quantity their gamers from 1 to 23, so retirement has not been an possibility. (Rosters have been expanded to 26 gamers for this 12 months’s event.) On the 2018 World Cup, Neymar wore Pelé’s No. 10 for Brazil, and Lionel Messi wore Maradona’s No. 10 for Argentina, numbers one actually would anticipate to be retired.

Many soccer golf equipment additionally don’t assign No. 12 in honor of their followers, whom they think about “the twelfth participant” on the pitch. That’s the identical purpose the Sacramento Kings and the Orlando Magic of the N.B.A. had already retired No. 6.

Now, because of Russell, No. 6 quickly will go away different groups’ courts, too.

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