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Bill Russell

10. Bill Russell

The antistat man, he defined his basketball by one measure only: winning. He was sui generis, changing the game with his almost mystical ability to block shots. Off the court, he refused to dispense autographs and was utterly forthright, unafraid to speak out against racial injustice. Above all: No athlete ever had such a positive influence on his teammates -- everybody was a better player when Bill Russell was on their side.

Photograph by Walter Iooss

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