Team(s): Maccabi Tel Aviv
Years Played: 1966-1980
Accolades: Maccabiah Games Gold Medal (1965, 1969), Israeli Sportsman of the Year (1967), University of Illinois "Man of the Year" (1996), International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (1996), Israeli Basketball Hall of Fame
Badass Justification: There aren't too many ballers who can say they flat out turned down a chance to play in the NBA, then again, not everyone is Tal Brody. With the 12th overall pick in the 1965 NBA draft, the Baltimore Bullets selected Brody out of the University of Illinois. In August, before he was slated to begin his career with the Bullets, Brody travelled to Israel for the first time. He played for Team USA in the Maccabiah Games, and lead the squad to a gold medal. After the tournament, Brody was enticed to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which would, of course, prevent him from playing in the NBA.
As passionate as Brody was, he decided to take up the challenge and embark on a journey that would change Israeli basketball forever. Brody became a legend in Israel and an ambassador of the game, elevating the Israeli game to unthinkable heights. Salute to following your heart and paying your dues. What a champ.