American professional basketball player who played as a center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1956 to 1969 Website
Approval Rate: 85%
11 titles in 13 years as the top player on his team, and the same team. Nobody else has ever done that (not Jordan, not LeBron). Nobody else ever will. Even if a player comes along who has this kind of success, they won't do it because star players don't stick with the same team anymore. Russell is easily a top 5 player of all time. I have him at third behind Jordan and LeBron, but arguments can be made for him to be number one. Unfortunately he is fading in public memory, and is unjustly sliding down many people's all time rankings. I get it (but don't agree) if people want to say that Kareem or Wilt were better, but when people start trying to put Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, or Shaq ahead of him, it is an indication that we've lost historical perspective.
Eight in a row (1959-1966) and eleven out of thirteen. Five MVP awards. Back-to-back NCAA championships with the University of San Francisco Dons (1955-59) and an Olympic Gold Medalist with the US Men's Basketball team at the Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia (1956). A true ICON and the greatest Boston Celtic.
Tops! His teams always won, even in '69, when he was player-coach & old enuf to be over the hill.
Best center of all time
Winner! let me type that again.. Winner! There are a lot of great players who don't know how to win, not him..
Cant talk about the celtics with out his name in the conversation
best celtics player of all time
Now we are talkin, this is one of the greteast players ever. 11 chapionship rings as a player only, that is saying something. Fifty years from now people are still going to be talking about him.
one of the top ten players...ever.
Greatest player ever. Nine championships in eleven years. Nobody else can say that. Winning is what proves greatness and he won more than anyone else. Patrik Ewing was a great player, but his legacy is diminished because he never one the big one. Russell won nine big ones.
Good defender-not else
A rebounding machine and masterful defender!
Not nearly good enough on offense, and would completely get annihilated by Wilt individually.
Horrible man and should have gotten of the planet like Wilt...
By far, the most valuable player ever. In fact, I cant think of a player in any other sport who was as valuable. 11 championships in 13 years. And one of those they did not win, was because he was hurt. He knew what it took to win, not make a bunch of stats. When Chamberlain blocked a shot, it went out of bounds. When Russell blocked a shot, he would often tip it to a teammate. When Chamberlain got a rebound, he came down, forcefully moved around until people left him alone, and then handed it to his guard. Meantime, the defense was already set up. When Russell got a rebound, his outlet pass was to his teammate, before he hit the ground, and started the Celtics patented fast break. No Russell, no fast break. Russell was not particularly coordinated when he was running, but once he was in the air, he was a darn acrobat. He could place his body in all sorts of angles, and was so intimidating to the other team when they drove to the basket, that it was darn right eerie. And t... Read more
Bill Russell is the GREATEST BASKETBALL player of all time but he's not the BEST (that goes to the Big O) but anyway . . . Contrary to many would think, Russell is pretty good in scoring. He has a nice left hook, is on or near the top of the league in terms of shooting percentage when he was active ,plus he was the whole package when he was playing in college; scoring, defense and rebounding. Red Auerbach put him in a defensive and rebounding role in the Celtics but it doesnt mean that he's a poor shooter or had a weak offensive game. On Russell's junior year in college, he and KC Jones lead the obscure,USFDons into the NCAA title. The following year, the Dons lost the services of Jones but Russell still lead the team to an undefeated season in blow out games. The closest any team would get to the Dons was 7 points. After Russell left, the Dons faded into obscurity again. When Russell came to the Celtics, the team have a HoF coach and the best PG in the League in Bob Cousy but... Read more
Greatest defender of all time, second greatest rebounder of all time. Not in the top 5 of the all-time greats, who I think includes Wilt, Oscar, Jordan, Bird, and Magic. Russell was a centerpiece of the Celtic dynasty, don't get me wrong. But look at all the Hall of Famers who surrounded him. Tom Heinsohn. Sam Jones. K.C. Jones. John Havlicek. Bob Cousy. Frank Ramsey. Red Auerbach as coach. The list goes on and on. I know that they might not have even won one championship without Mr. Russell. But Russell was worked into a system. He didn't have to score. Unlike Chamberlain, who was working his ass off on both ends of the floor, Russell could afford to let his teammates do the scoring while he got the rebounds and blocked shots. In the Celtics' system, Russell was immortal. But if you switched his teams with Wilt, Russell would not have brought the Warriors a championship. I don't know if he could blend his talents into any given offensive system, as Wilt did with the Wa... Read more
From the Oxford English Dictionary: Bill Russel:(n)proper name; 1. Greatest player in Boston Celtic's history. Champion:(n)adjective; 1. Bill Russell.
While certainly Russell is one of the greatest, virtually the only argument Russell fans can put up as to why he's the greatest is the number of championship teams Russell was on (eleven). These fans fail to note that there are many factors as to why some teams win championships and some teams don't. To lay it all on one player is idiotic. Do I really need to point out who Russell had around him on those Celtic championship teams? Early on, when Russell was new to the league, the Celtics already had the seasoned backcourt of Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman and forward Tom Heinsohn--all three Hall-of-Famers. Those three were instrumental in helping Russell win his first few NBA titles. Cousy and Sharman retired soon into the Celtics dynasty but Sam Jones and K.C. Jones stepped up and the Celtics hardly missed a beat. And then there was John Havlicek--one of the best players in NBA history--and the Celtics continued their eleven-titles-in-thirteen-years championship run. Certainly Russell des... Read more
Winning, defense and rebounding were his top priorities during his playing days. He didn't have to score because someone else did it for him. His work ethic was unprecedented. Russell never stopped playing until the horn sounded. That's why he won 11 titles in 13 years.
I grew up watching Russell play - in my opinion he is tied with Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan as the greatest basketball players ever. He was everything that the perfect center should be, plus he could have scored much much more if he had decided to play the game that way. Instead he was the hub of the offense and a fantastic passer out of the post. Just a truly incredible basketball player.
the 2nd best defensive player of all time
10 Championships. Nuff said.
While he has more championships than anyone else, he also had better teammates than anyone else (Cousy and Sharman proved themselves before Russell arived, and Havlicek proved himself after Russell left). That said, he was the greatest defender ever and mastered the pyschological aspects of the game.
11 NBA championships, you got to be kidding me
the greatest defender in the history of the nba.
This guy is the reason that the ewings, olajuwons, and yaos exist and play the way they do.
This guy should get a six. The greatest player in any team sport in the 20th century. Won two straight college championships, an olympic championship, and 11 out of 13 NBA championships. The thought occured to me after watching his last game and his last championship that his career was the Everest of sports. I still think I was right.
the greatest player until magic came along redefined the game as a defensive center won the most championships (11) and made his teamates better players the first black head coach in the modern era and won 2 championships before he retired. and one hell of a man.
Greatest competitor ever, best defender ever, completely changed the game like very few have. I would put him in the group that comes after Wilt and Oscar including Jabbar, MJ, Magic, Bird and Walton (at his best).
more nba titles than he has fingers, led a tiny college (university of san francisco) to 61 straight wins and 2 straight ncaa titles-and oh has a gold medal. he changed the way the game is played-literally-made new rules because of him. mj didnt even do that. best ever no question
He changed the game; just a winner.
Bill Russell was an incredible rebounder and defensive player, a good passer, and a mediocre scorer. He was a fierce competitor, and 11 titles in 13 years is unreal. However, to say he was better than Wilt or Kareem because of the titles is like saying Larry Siegfried was a better guard than Oscar Robertson because Siegfried won more titles. Or like saying Bernie Williams is a better player than Barry Bonds because the Yankees have won more championships. Russell was great, but he takes a back seat to Wilt, Kareem, Hakeem, and Shaq, in the ranks of all-time great Centers.
How can he not be a 5? He was arguably the greatest winner ever in the history of team sports and he was the best defensive player ever.
Russell made shot blocking and rebounding important parts of the game during his run with the Celtics.
His prowess as a rebounder, defender, and team leader was unparalled, especially during his era. While it is unfair to compare basketball players from different generations, if a top ten list could be fairly drawn up, I would be shocked if Russell were any lower than two or three.
B. Russell is da bomb! So much better than any of today's losers like Shaq and Spree. Best rebounder ever!
He was amazing!!! No one in the history of the nba will be as amazing at defence as him, he envented the blocked shot, and pulled it on people over 5 times a night!
The greatest winner ever !! How could anyone rate Wilt ahead of Russell....ever been to the Garden and notice the banners hangin from the ceiling?
Bill Russell is one of the greatest team players and winners in the history of sports. His defensive play revolutionized the game and his battles with Wilt were legendary. While I would never pretend to understand what he went through in terms of racism, it is unfortunate that he harbored so much bitterness and resentment following his playing days.
Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics defined team basketball. Their dynasty reshaped the game of basketball. There is no "I" in team.
I hate the Celtics but he was unbelievable! How could he not be number 1? 9 Championships in 10 years. Jordan might come close but nobody else.
Give Russell credit. Winning titles is what its all about and no one did it like him. (Only Jordan can lay claim to a similar accomplishment -- with six titles in the last six seasons that he played full-time.)