William Felton "Bill" Russell is a retired professional basketball player from the United States. Russell played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association from 1956 to 1969. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty, winning eleven NBA championships during his thirteen-year career. Along with Henri Richard of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, Russell holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Before his professional career, Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships. He also won a gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics as captain of the U.S. national basketball team.
Russell is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history. He was listed as between 6 ft 9 in and 6 ft 10 in, and his shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' success. He also inspired his teammates to elevate their own defensive play. Russell was equally notable for his rebounding abilities. He led the NBA in rebounds four times, had a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds, and remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game. He is one of just two NBA players to have grabbed more than 50 rebounds in a game. Though never the focal point of the Celtics' offense, Russell also scored 14,522 career points and provided effective passing.