The great basketball legend and social activist Bill Russell patrolled the lane like nobody in the history of hoops — and now the Boston Celtics, for whom Russell practiced and perfected his defensive art, have painted Russell’s number 6 on the green lane of their famous parquet floor.
Be on the lookout for a special tribute to Bill Russell on the parquet this season ☘️ pic.twitter.com/Pt6IoZbekx— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 19, 2022
The number takes up an appropriate spot on the floor, of course, and it’s in a light ghosted green paint set inside the darker green. That’s also appropriate — because so many players visited that lane, had their shot blocked with such stealth by Russell, that they thought they’d been had by a ghost.
Even Wilt Chamberlain knew the wrath of Russell’s spectral presence.
Earlier this year, in response to the passing of Russell, the 11-time champion for whom the NBA Finals MVP Award is named, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA would retire Russell’s number 6 throughout the league, making Russell the first player so honored.
It’s akin to what Major League Baseball did with Jackie Robinson‘s legendary No. 42. Now Russell will have visitors to the Boston arena surrounded — when they look up they’ll see No. 6 in the rafters, and when they look down they’ll see No. 6 on the floor. Russell will be everywhere, just like old times.