William Felton Russell was an American athlete who played college and professional basketball. He was born in 1934 in Louisiana and is still alive. Some of his many achievements include 11-time NBA champion, 5-time NBA MVP, and 12-time NBA All-Star. Bill was so important because he was the first back "superstar" in the NBA and was also the first Black coach and first black coach to win a championship.
Althea Gibson was an American tennis player and professional golfer. She was born in 1927 in South Carolina and passed away in 2003. Althea's importance was being the first black athlete to cross the color line of International Tennis and was the first black person to win a Grand Slam title.
Marlin Oliver Briscoe was an American born athlete who played football at the college and professional levels. He was born in 1945 in Nebraska and is still alive. Marlin's importance is because he was the first black NFL quarterback which broke the barrier and gave opportunity for other blacks to do the same as him.
Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias was a Female American born athlete who played golf, basketball, baseball, track and field. Babe was born in 1911 in Texas and passed away in 1956. In her athletic career she won two gold medals, one silver, and ten LPGA major championships. She was so important because of her job breaking stereotypes for women in sports and the accepted models of female athleticism
Billie Jean King was a former number 1 ranked tennis player in the world. She was born in 1943 in California and is still alive. She won 39 Grand Slam titles in all. Billie was so important because of her push for gender equality and social justice, and in 1973, she took part in "Battle of the Sexes" where she played a singles tennis match against Bobby Riggs and won, she also created multiple women's sports and tennis groups.
Henry Louis Gehrig was an American born baseball player. He was born in New York in 1903 and passed away in 1941. Lou played his whole career as a New York Yankee and eventually was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Lou was such an important person because of his disease, Lou was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which was a incurable neuromuscular disorer which caused him to retire and pass away. Lou having this terrible disease was used for him to use his platform to enlighten people on the disease where it is known across the world
James Francis Thorpe was born in 1887 and died in 1953. Jim was an Olympic gold medalist and American Athlete who played baseball, football and participated in the Pentathlon and Decathlon in the Olympics. Jim was so important because he was the first Native American to win a gold medal. This open doors for Native Americans from then on out to show that they to can be athletically talented.
Cassius Clay also known as Muhammad Ali was an African American Boxer born in 1942 and died 2016. The Kentucky born man was very important, after plenty of success as a boxer, he was drafted into the Army for the Vietnam War. After hearing the news he refused to go into the Army, which caused him to be convicted for Draft Evasion. Eventually, he got the charges overturned. Muhammad was such an important person for everyone in the nation then and now because he stood up for the rights and fair treatment of minority groups like blacks.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was a Georgia-born man born in 1919 and died in 1972. Jackie was a professional baseball player in the MLB, Jackie was the first African American to play in the MLB. This caused a lot of hate brung down on Jackie by whites but more so, brang hope and more opportunity for other African Americans to play professional baseball.
Kenneth S. Washington was an American born athlete who played in the National Football League. He was born in 1918 in California and died in 1971. Kenny attended UCLA and played in the NFL for the Los Angeles Rams. Kenny's importance was being the "Jackie Robinson" of football, being the first black player in the NFL