Bill Russell is the best basketball player of all time Show more Show less
Basketball is a team sport, and nobody led their teams to more success than Russell.
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Russell won more than anyone
Russell was the ultimate team player, and he led his teams to more victories than any other player.
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While many of the greatest basketball players have gaudier statistical records and have been decorated with more awards than Bill Russell, basketball is ultimately a team sport, and the only true measure of a player's greatness is the success of their teams. In this respect, Russell is the greatest of all time. Russell was unquestionably elite as an individual player, making 12 All-Star teams and winning five NBA Most Valuable Player awards (the second-most ever), but his true brilliance was his team leadership. Russell's Boston Celtics won 11 NBA championships during his time as a player, giving Russell more championship victories than any other player. The Celtics's run of consecutive titles from 1959-1966 stands as a championship winning streak that no team has come close to approaching since. Unlike other elite players who focused on being their teams's offensive engines, Russell excelled in the less glamorous aspects of team defense and court generalship, sacrificing his individual numbers to best help his team. His legacy is inextricably linked with that of his chief rival, Wilt Chamberlain, and the comparison is highly favorable to Russell. While Chamberlain was the more physically gifted player and set seemingly impossible statistical records throughout his career, Russell's teams dominated Chamberlain's more often than not, leaving Chamberlain with a record of futility in the NBA playoffs and a comparatively modest career total of just two NBA titles. In 2009, the NBA officially recognized Russell's critical contribution to his team's historic success by naming the NBA Finals MVP award after Bill Russell.
[P1] Russell was able to lead his team to victory more than any other player. [P2] This makes him the greatest player of all time.