Bill Russell leaps for a basketball while playing for the Celtics.

Bill Russell

Drafted into the NBA in 1956, Bill Russell helped the Boston Celtics win eleven championships in his thirteen seasons playing in the league. Russell played center for the Boston Celtics and was better known for rebounding and shot-blocking than for scoring points. In 1966 he was made player coach of the Celtics, the first African American coach of any major professional sports team in the U.S., and he promptly led the team to another championship. No NBA player has more championships to his name. Russell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975—while head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics—and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

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