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Magic Johnson calls on NBA to pay special tribute to Bill Russell

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Getty Former NBA players Bill Russell (L) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr.

Since the news of Bill Russell’s passing, many have paid tribute to the Boston Celtics legend. That includes Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson. Following Russell’s death, Johnson repeatedly expressed his appreciation for Russell’s impact on and off the pitch. On August 2, 2022, Johnson pitched an idea to the NBA for how to honor Russell’s legacy.

Johnson proposed to NBA commissioner Adam Silver that the league retire league number six in honor of Russell.

Commissioner Adam Silver should retire #6 from the @NBA in honor of Bill Russell’s legacy!

– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) 2 août 2022

This would mean that LeBron James, who currently plays for the Lakers, would have to change his number to one among the other players in the league who would have to do the same.

Many endorsed Johnson’s proposal because they also agree that Russell’s legacy, both inside and outside the NBA, was so important.

I couldn’t agree more. In different ways obviously, but he’s as important to the NBA as Jackie Robinson is to baseball. Make it happen. https://t.co/OdDYAjrg4E

– Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) 2 août 2022

Quote from Chris Mannix tweeted Magic referring to an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated in which he expressed a similar sentiment.

There was no unanimous support for Johnson’s proposal, but there was more than enough approval to demonstrate the kind of impact Russell left. Johnson also recently opened up about her relationship with Russell following his death.

Johnson praised Russell’s character

Johnson went on to praise Russell for being humble as a person, even with all the success he’s had. He also praised Russell’s intelligence and how hard he fought for civil rights.

“Despite all of his accomplishments, he was so humble, a gentle giant, a very smart man, and used his voice and his platform to fight for black people. From the day we met, he mentored me and gave me advice.

Despite all his accomplishments, he was so humble, a gentle giant, a very smart man, and used his voice and his platform to fight for black people. From the day we met, he mentored me and gave me advice.

– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) 31 juillet 2022

It didn’t stop there. Johnson also detailed his personal relationship with Russell while sharing what he will never forget about Russell on a personal level.

“Later in life, he never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud he was of me for what I was doing for black America across the country. I will always remember his giggle, sense of humor and love for basketball.

Later in life, he never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud he was of me for what I was doing for black America across the country. I will always remember his giggle, sense of humor and love for basketball. pic.twitter.com/tLaK2gjlGa

– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) 31 juillet 2022

Even though he played for the only team Russell fought with during his playing days, it’s clear that Johnson and Russell’s relationship transcended the game of basketball.

However, it wasn’t just Johnson’s relationship with Russell that he cherished. He also looked up to Russell because of his accomplishments.

Johnson called Russell his idol

Johnson has made it known how much he looks to Russell because of his professional accomplishments and as a trailblazer for guys like Johnson.

“Bill Russell was my idol. I admired him on and off the pitch. His success on the pitch was undeniable; he was (dominant) and awesome, winning 11 NBA championships. Off the court, Bill Russell paved the way for guys like me.

Bill Russell was my idol. I admired him on and off the pitch. His success on the pitch was undeniable; he was dominant and awesome, winning 11 NBA championships. Off the court, Bill Russell paved the way for guys like me. pic.twitter.com/ZMIrEx8Tne

– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) 31 juillet 2022

Johnson also noted that he idolized Russell in part because Russell inspired him to do more for the African American community, as he used his platform to do so during and after his playing days.

“He was one of the first frontline athletes to fight for social justice, fairness, equality and civil rights. That’s why I admired and loved him so much. During our friendship, he always reminded me of the need to improve things in the black community.

He was one of the first frontline athletes to fight for social justice, fairness, equality and civil rights. That’s why I admired and loved him so much. During our friendship, he always reminded me of the need to improve things in the black community. pic.twitter.com/K73adpaWZ4

– Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) 31 juillet 2022

Clearly, Russell meant the world to Johnson, and he wanted the world to know how much he meant to him, like many other NBA legends.

Heavier on the Celtics News

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