Bell began his college career at Boston University, but after two seasons was forced to transfer to Florida International University following an incident with his girlfriend nhjghjghjghjghjghjghjghjghjghj. Bell went undrafted out of college. He signed as a free agent with the San Antonio Spurs on August 2 2000, but never played a game for them. He was eventually released, and signed with the Philadelphia 76ers on April 16 2001. He played limited minutes in the final five of the Sixers' games in the 2000-01 regular season, but saw action in 15 of the team's 23 playoff games. The little-used Bell starred in Game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals, scoring in double figures and rallying the Sixers from an early deficit against the Bucks as the 76ers won easily. He played in all five games for the 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals.
Bell played in 74 games with the Sixers in the 2001-02 regular season, averaging 3.4 points per game, and played in three of the team's five playoff games as the Sixers suffered a five-game playoff series loss to the Boston Celtics.
On October 1 2002, Bell signed as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks, and he averaged 3.1 points in 15.6 minutes per game. For the first time in his NBA career, he gained extensive starting experience, starting in 32 of the 75 games he played.
Bell averaged 5.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game in 17 postseason games with the 2002 Mavericks as the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals.
On September 26 2003, Bell signed with the Utah Jazz, and enjoyed what had been his most successful season since entering the NBA. Bell played in all 82 of the Jazz's games, and despite starting in only four of them, he posted career highs with 11.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 24.6 minutes per game. In the 2004-05 season he slightly improved upon these stats with 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, despite playing in only 63 games.
Prior to the 2005-06 season, Bell signed with the Phoenix Suns. Bell responded to the presence of Steve Nash and became an extremely solid contributor. He started in all 79 games he played in, and finished the 2005-06 season averaging 14.7 points per game in 37.5 minutes per game.
Bell also hit a career high 44.2% of his 3-point field goal attempts during the 2005-06 season. He was chosen to participate in the 2006 NBA Footlocker Three-Point Shootout, but did not partcipate due to a family illness and was replaced by Gilbert Arenas.
On May 2, 2006, in Game 5 of the first round series of the Western Conference playoffs, Raja Bell clotheslined Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant on a hard foul resulting in an ejection (with 7:33 left to play in the game).  In the postgame press conference, Bell explained that he was frustrated by an earlier elbow to the jaw from Bryant. Bell was suspended for one game.
After practice the day after Game 5, the war of words between the two continued. Hours before finding out about his suspension for Game 6, Bell reiterated his frustration with the constant elbows from Bryant, and said of the Lakers star: "I have no respect for him. Because I think he's a pompous, arrogant individual. I think a lot of people let him get away with things and he feels like he's supposed to get away with them and I don't agree with that." 
Later in the 2006 NBA Playoffs, Bell came up clutch with a last second three-pointer in overtime against the Los Angeles Clippers to tie the game up and send the game into double-overtime where the Suns eventually pulled away to win the game and go up 3 games to 2 in the series. Midway through the fourth quarter in game 1 of the Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks, Bell sustained a calf injury which forced him to miss the rest of the game plus game 2 and 3 of the series. Bell returned in game 4 for the Suns to tie the series at two games apiece.
With the Jazz and Suns he wears jersey number 19 based on the date of his birthday, but wore 11 in his first three seasons with the 76ers and Mavericks.
Both his father and sister were successful college athletes. His sister, Tombi, was a star point guard for the University of Florida and is now an assistant coach at the University of Florida.