Bill Russell

Sport: NBA
Years: 1956-1969
Bill Russell may not have been the most vocal athlete, often refusing to sign autographs or do interviews but he was no doubt a pioneer for all black athletes. He battled racism throughout his years in Boston and lead his team to become the most dominant dynasty in sports history. After Russell had won nine championships in ten seasons with the team, Celtics head coach Red Auerbach retired and named Russell as player-coach, making Russell the first black head coach in NBA history and professionals sports. Russell coached the team to another two championships in three seasons as player-coach. In 2010 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.