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Magic calls for NBA to retire Bill Russell's No. 6

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson believes the best way to honor the late Bill Russell is to retire his No. 6 jersey league-wide.

While the NBA has never done such a thing for a player, it's not entirely unknown.

Major League Baseball paid homage to Jackie Robinson by permanently retiring the African-American's number 25 years after his death.

Robinson's widow, Rachel, asked Russell to be a pallbearer at her husband's funeral as he was Jackie's favorite athlete.

Both Russell's and Robinson's legacy extended beyond their respective field of play. The Boston Celtics icon was a champion of activism long before his Hall of Fame career as a player and coach.

In 2011, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by U.S. President Barack Obama.

"In every generation people make a difference not only with their play, but also with their persona," Lakers great Jerry West recently told Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. "Bill Russell and Jackie Robinson were in that same class."

Magic calls for NBA to retire Bill Russell's No. 6
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