Standing at 6 feet 9 inches tall, Bill Russell was known in his time as the “Greatest Player in the History of the NBA”. A legendary player, Russell was a five-time MVP and a 12-time All-Star over the course of his career, also winning a gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games.
Russell would lead the Boston Celtics to a whopping 11 NBA championships, two of them coming from his time as the first Black head coach in a major American sports league. Elected to the Basketball hall of fame in 1975, Russell was known for transforming the center position, dominating every game he was in, but also for playing well with teammates and having disdain for showy moved that called attention to an individual.
Russell was also well known for his civil rights activism, and was proud to march alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. when he gave his “I have a Dream” speech in 1963. In 2011, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by former President Barak Obama.