Hailed as the greatest team player on the greatest team of all time, Bill Russell led the Boston Celtics in the longest championship streak in U.S. sports history. With a flair for defense never before seen on a basketball court, allied with an uncanny ability to excel under pressure and an indomitable will to win, Russell dominated the game of basketball from his earliest days as a student athlete to his triumphant career in the pros.
As captain of the Boston Celtics, he led the team to nine championships, including the unsurpassed streak of eight consecutive wins. In 1967, he succeeded the legendary Red Auerbach as the team's head coach, becoming the first African American to coach a major league sports team in the United States. Serving as a player-coach, without an assistant, he guided the Celtics to two additional championships.
Bill Russell achieved this unprecedented record while facing down the incessant harassment and prejudice that hounded African Americans in the 1950s and '60s. His courage and dignity in overcoming these obstacles have been an inspiration to all Americans.