3. Bill Russell
There is no greater winner in American team sports than Bill Russell. None. No player has more NBA championships than Russell, who won 11 titles in a 13-year span with the Boston Celtics. What’s even more impressive is that Russell won his last two titles as a player-coach, in the years after Red Auerbach retired from coaching the team.
Russell and the Celtics won eight straight titles from 1959 to 1966, and Russell was named the league’s MVP five times along the way. Simply put, he was the leader of the winningest team in major U.S. sports history. When he retired from the NBA in 1969, he did so as the undisputed GOAT.