William Felton Bill Russell (Born February 12, 1934) is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics. Russell is considered one of the best Nba players in NBA history. He was also a coach for 8 years straight. In junior high school, he was cut from tryouts for the basketball team. In high school he barely made the junior varsity squad as a sophomore.In addition to playing basketball, Russell was a track and field star for the university. He was good at the 400-yard dash, and he excelled at the high jump.In 1956, Russell was ranked among the 10 best high jumpers in the world. He considered entering this event in the 1956 Olympics, but he decided to play hoops with the U.S. Olympic basketball team instead. In order to honor the amazing playoff record of Russell, the NBA introduced the "Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award" in 2009. This award is presented annually to the Most Valuable Player in the NBA Finals. The first recipient of the Bill Russell Trophy was Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Bill Russell changed the way the game was played, as never before had the NBA had such a dominating big man. He worked more on the defensive side of the ball than on his offensive skills, because he knew there were plenty of shooters but not enough players willing to do the dirty work. Russell was a defensive force with his height, ability to jump, and speed. His presence caused teams to alter their strategies, and ultimately led to rules being changed to put the other players on more of a level playing field. Russell's abilities won him many awards during his playing career, including 5 MVPs and 12 All-Star appearances. In 1996, Russell was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.