The iconic basketball player, Bill Russell, has breathed his last at the age of 88. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and 12-time All-Star, this Boston Celtics legend has scripted many records throughout his illustrious career. However, there is one record in which he is the best in history, and that is the number of NBA championship rings he has won over the years. In this respect, Russell, as a player, has won a staggering 11.

Notably, the list of most NBA championship ring winners as a player heavily features Russell’s team members. Sam Jones, Celtics’ shooting guard in the team, has won 10, followed by other Celtics legends like Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, Satch Sanders, John Havlicek (eight each), Jim Loscutoff, and Frank Ramsay (seven each).

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The fellowship of the ring

The NBA championship rings are awarded to all the members of a winning team, including coaches and executive members. This tradition has been going on since the 1947 season’s finals. In the present days, a team is handed their rings on the first matchday of the next season.

The rings have certain characteristics to them. The words “World Champions” are inscribed on the ring, along with the name of the individual player/official, the name of their team, and the year in which they won the NBA.

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Russell’s legacy

Russell’s success rate in the NBA is staggering because of the fact that he has achieved his 11 NBA Finals victories in 13 seasons only.

In 1956, Russell, playing for the University of South Florida, won the NCAA championship and followed it up with an NBA Finals win with the Celtics in 1957, making him the first player ever to win the two titles in consecutive seasons. Since then, only three players, namely, Henry Bibby, Magic Johnson, and Billy Thompson, have been able to repeat this feat.

The Celtics, with Russell as the centre, went on to win every season from 1959 to 1966, and then repeated the feat once again in ’68 and ’69.