Bill Russell is still arguably the greatest player of all time, but if it weren't for Jordan there would be absolutely no case for comparison. An 11-time NBA champion, and five-time MVP, Russell was not only maybe the greatest of all time, but a true pioneer of the game. Dominating during the league's developmental years, the NBA would most likely not be nearly as prominent and structured as it is today without his outstanding career. Before Magic and Bird, there was Russell and Wilt.
There would be no argument against Bill Russell being the GOAT.