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Bulls’ Alex Caruso considered changing jersey number to honor Bill Russell, NBA wouldn’t allow it


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Chicago Bulls shooting guard Alex Caruso he considered changing his jersey number for the upcoming NBA season to honor the late Bill Russell, but the NBA would not allow it.

On Monday, Caruso was asked about wearing No. 6, explaining that the NBA told him he couldn’t change his number because of its popularity.

Bill Russell, a member of the Boston Celtics 1966 Championship team, is honored at halftime of the game between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat at the TD Garden on April 13, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

“I thought about changing it this year,” Caruso told reporters Monday. “And the NBA told me I couldn’t because it was in the top 75 for t-shirt sales. So that’s like a rule.”

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the NBA retired No. 6 jersey throughout the league following Russell’s death on July 31 at the age of 88.

Players currently wearing a number 6 jersey were protected and allowed to continue wearing the jersey number.

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“I looked into it, and obviously I don’t want to do anything other than honor him and his legacy and what he stood for,” Caruso said. “He is one of the pioneers, a racial defender of the game of basketball in general, and just a great person in every way. I don’t know anyone who talks about him or knows him who has anything negative to say.

Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls reacts to a 3-point shot during the second quarter of Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first round playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on April 22, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls reacts to a 3-point shot during the second quarter of Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first round playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center on April 22, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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“Probably next year I will look for another number.”

In addition to removing the number, the The NBA will honor Russell for the upcoming season with a commemorative patch on all jerseys and a trefoil logo on the pitch with the number 6.

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Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) suffered a nosebleed in the first half against the Bucks at the United Center in Chicago on April 24, 2022.

Bulls guard Alex Caruso (6) suffered a nosebleed in the first half against the Bucks at the United Center in Chicago on April 24, 2022.
(Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“Bill Russell’s unprecedented success on the court and pioneering civil rights activism deserve to be honored in a unique and historic way,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in announcing the uniform number’s retirement. “Permanently retiring No. 6 from him on every NBA team ensures that Bill’s momentous career will always be recognized.”

Russell is the greatest winner in basketball history, winning 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons with the Boston Celtics.



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