The Boston Celtics retire Bill Russell's No.6 jersey
March 12, 1972 - Boston Garden - Boston, Massachusetts

Try as they might, no NBA player will ever match Bill Russell's Finals record.

Across the course of his stellar 13-year, 12-All-Star career, Russell and the Celtics went to the Finals on 12 occasions for 11 wins.

Despite standing six foot ten, with a seven-foot-four wingspan and a chip on each shoulder, Russell edged out the shamrock to become the Celtics' lucky charm after being traded from the St Louis Hawks ahead of the 1956/57 season.

Politically revolutionary and also athletically, the Louisiana native wasted little time announcing himself to the parochial Boston crowd, with Russell averaging more than 19 rebounds in his rookie season – a marker he would meet or beat for the next decade.

It was not always a harmonious relationship between the champion and his adopted city, including on this night the Celtics would raise Russell's feted No.6 into the Garden rafters.

Surrounded only by ex-teammates and no fans or fanfare, Russell was cajoled even to attend the event in the first place, stating “I'm not that guy” when quizzed about the low-key ceremony.

On the court, however, the Celtics wouldn't waste their opportunity to tip their bowler hats, edging the hated New York Knicks 112-108, with John Havlicek proving good for 41 points.

Havlicek, himself, would see his No.17 join Russell's in The Garden rafters before the end of the decade.

27 years on from Russell's number joining his 11 title banners above the feted parquet floor, ‘Bean Town' would finally be given their opportunity to pay their respects to ‘The Secretary of Defense' after the Celtics opted to run a second ceremony for Russell in a 1999 event attended by former adversaries Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, as well as the architect of Celtic success, Red Auerbach.

Russell would return to the coaching fold the very next season, steering the Seattle Supersonics from 1973 to 1977 and then the Sacramento Kings from 1987 to 1988.

The hoops world went into collective mourning on July 31, 2022, when Russell passed away at the age of 88.

Shortly after his passing, the NBA retired Russell's No.6 jersey league-wide as a mark of respect.