Winning isn't always everything, and ring culture has hurt the NBA to some degree. You don't have to be a champion to be among the greatest players ever, as you can tell by Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, and so many more.
But at the end of the day, most people will judge a player for his résumé, and what speaks louder than championships? Winning a ring is the endgame and ultimate goal, and just a handful of guys can achieve it.
As we know by now, no athlete won more championships in all four major leagues (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) than Bill Russell. So, now that he's passed away, we'll let you know about the only guys that come close: the winningest players in NBA history.
NBA Rings: Players With The Most Championships
3. John Havlicek, Satch Sanders, K.C. Jones, & Tom Heisonh - 8 Rings
The Boston Celtics won 11 rings in 13 years, so it's only normal that most of the members of those teams make this list. In fact, Tom Heisonh and K.C. Jones won a ring in eight out of the nine seasons they played in the league.
Heisonh was a part of the 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965 championship teams, while Jones joined them later and won in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966.
Satch Sanders followed by winning in 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, while John Havlicek became one of the greatest players of all time and helped them win in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976. Two of those rings came in the post-Bill Russell ea.
2. Sam Jones - 10 Rings
Most people talk about Bill Russell and for very good reasons, but if Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, then Russell had Sam Jones. The Celtics would've been as dominant if he wasn't there as well.
Jones averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game through his 12-year career. He was a master in the clutch and often took his game up a notch in the playoffs, carrying the offense while Russell anchored the defense.
1. Bill Russell - 11 Rings
The man, the legend. Bill Russell was a gifted athlete who literally jumped over his own teammates to swat shots. Considered the greatest defender of all time, he could lock down the glass like no other, then push the break by himself, and then dunk over two people from the free-throw line.
Russell was a winner on and off the court, an example and a leader for minorities. He also had one of the first 'star' contracts in the NBA, so he was also a pioneer in that regard. Winner of 11 rings in 13 seasons, Russell's résumé will never be topped.