Bill Russell was The Greatest Team Player and Winner of the Twentieth Century.
Russell was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1996, he was named as One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Russell played 13 NBA seasons, all of them with the Boston Celtics. He was the cornerstone on eleven NBA Championship teams (1957, 1959-66 and 1968-69) – the most in NBA history.
He also played on two NCAA Championship teams (1956-57) at the University of San Francisco. By winning a gold medal in the 1956 Olympics, Bill Russell won consecutively: the 1956 NCAA Championship, the 1956 Olympic gold medal and the 1957 NBA Championship – the only player ever to do so.
Before Bill Russell brought his marvelous defensive and shot-blocking skills to basketball, the game focused primarily on offense. But Russell initiated a defensive mentality that remains a focal part of championship basketball. He is considered the greatest defensive center in basketball history.
In his first NBA full season (1957–58), Russell became the first player in NBA history to average more than 20 rebounds per game for an entire season, a feat he accomplished 10 times in his 13 seasons. Russell’s 51 rebounds in a single game is the second highest performance ever. Career-wise, Russell ranks second in regular season total (21,620) and average (22.5) rebounds per game.
Russell is the all-time playoff leader in total (4,104) and average (24.9) rebounds per game, he grabbed 40 rebounds in three separate playoff games (twice in the NBA Finals), and he never failed to average at least 20 rebounds per game in any of his 13 post-season campaigns.
Russell was known as one of the most clutch players in the NBA. He played in 10 deciding Game 7s and ended with a flawless 10–0 record. In these ten games, Russell averaged 18.6 points and 29.3 rebounds. In Game 7 of the 1962 NBA Finals, Bill Russell scored 30 points and grabbed 40 rebounds.
"No one compares to Bill Russell. He was the smartest, most driven basketball player the game has ever seen. To this day, he remains the single most influential force in team sports of any kind." -Sam Jones, in an interview with Celtic Nation