There is only one man it could be, and that man is Bill Russell.
After his great career at the University of San Francisco where he took them to two NCAA Championships, Boston Celtics Head Coach, Red Auerbach engineered a draft-day trade to get him. He gave up Cliff Hagen, who hadn't yet suited up for Boston as he was performing his military duty, which at the time seemed like a lot to get a Center who preferred defense first. With all due respect to Hagen, who turned out to be a pretty good player, it turned out to be a steal.
Bill Russell is without question the greatest defensive player of all-time, he is also considered by many to be the BEST ever basketball player period! Russell was the literal centerpiece that the Celtics dynasty was built around and his ability to run the floor and block shots out of nowhere transformed the game. Other than his rookie season, he was named to the All-Star Game, and the only reason he was snubbed is that he arrived late that year due to his U.S. Olympic commitment. He may not have been a great scorer, but 15.1 Points per Game is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it is complemented by that sick 22.5 Rebounds per Game Average.
Now while it can be argued that Russell was only a three-time First Team All-NBA Selection because of Wilt Chamberlain, many look back and think many more should have gone to Big Bill. It was Russell who made his teammates better, it was Russell who won the titles, and it was Russell who wanted it more.
When it was all said and done, Bill Russell retired as an 11-time champion, five-time rebounding champion and a five-time MVP. The more important the game, the better he was, and there is no more deserving man for the NBA Finals MVP to be named after. While he can be criticized for how he abruptly quit after the 1968/69 without telling anyone which made the Celtics have to scramble for a new Center and Head Coach, there is no doubt that the positives dwarf the bad, so much so, that any negative probably should never have been mentioned.We are sorry that we did!