There are champions, and then there is Bill Russell. Russell is widely considered the champion of champions, as he owns the most NBA championship rings of any player in the history of the game with 11 (a ring for each finger and both thumbs with 1 extra).

Russell was born in Monroe, La. on the 12th of February, 1934. He attended the University of San Francisco from 1952 to 1956. During his stay there, Russell led San Francisco to back-to-back undefeated and national championship seasons in 1955 and 1956. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1955 NCAA tournament and then reeled in the National Player of the Year award in 1956.

Russell entered the 1956 NBA Draft and the St. Louis Hawks selected him with the second overall pick.

He won 11 titles and made 12 All-Star teams in just 13 seasons. He also managed to win five MVP awards, and the 1963 All-Star game MVP trophy.

Russell was the first African American player to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (on April 28, 1975). He was also chosen to the NBA’s 25th, 35th and 50th anniversary teams. The Celtics honored him by retiring his No. 6 jersey on March 12, 1972.

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