CANTON, Mass. (AP) — As the longest-tenured player on the Celtics, Marcus Smart has been in Boston long enough to appreciate what Bill Russell meant to the team, the city and the country.
“We’ve heard things like ‘pioneer,’ ‘trailblazer,’” Smart said Monday while wearing a patch honoring the Celtics Hall of Famer who died this summer. “To mention, you know, Bill Russell and the impact that he brought to this game is undeniable.”
The centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won 11 championships in 13 years, Russell is being honored this season not just for his unmatched success on the court but for a lifetime commitment to civil rights. The NBA has announced that it will retire his No. 6 league-wide, and every player will wear a black No. 6 patch on his jersey.