WTA Legend and founder Billie Jean King is among the most influential people of the 20th century according to the BBC. 

In a new series called "Icons," set to debut in the new year on Jan. 8, the lives of 28 influential people in the modern age will be explored

The list, released earlier this month, consists of notable artists, writers, activists, explorers, scientists, leaders and entertainers, and King is among names including Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Jane Goodall, Marilyn Monroe and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Related: Billie Jean King honored for lifetime achievement by BBC 

Joining King in the sports stars category are Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, boxer Muhammad Ali, and Welsh Paralympic wheelerchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson, who won over two dozen medals for Great Britain in Paralympic and World Championship competition, which included a dozen Paralympic golds. 

Many notable names were initially selected according to the following criteria: positive achievement and legacy, a degree of recognition for a British audience, and a spread of individuals across the century.

Expert panels then met to decide on a shortlist of four for each category.

The selections will later will be cut to seven through a public vote before viewers decide on their greatest person of the century in a grand finale, set to air on Feb. 5.