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In my book, Russell is the most important draft pick in league history because he instituted the team-first leadership skills that defined success in the NBA and were emulated by Michael Jordan and many other stars thereafter. Because of this pick -- acquired by Red Auerbach in a bold trade that sent All-Stars Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan to the St. Louis Hawks -- the Celtics became the most dominant team in sports history, winning 11 of 13 championships around Russell's unprecedented defensive dominance.

Text: Ian Thomsen/SI.com
Photo: AP

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