Thursday, February 13, 2014

NBA's Mt. Rushmore

Earlier this week Lebron James apparently broke people’s minds with his declaration that after all was said and done with his career he would be on the Mount Rushmore of the NBA. Frankly I didn't even see where there would be a controversy; this appears to me to be the biggest duh statement of all time. Now while I am of the group who believes it is impossible to compare eras I will bite and give you all my Mount Rushmore of the NBA. Now a few addendums, this is not a list of the most talented players in NBA history, mine is a list of the most influential players who changed the game in my humble opinion.

Presented in no particular order:

Bill Russell, C, Boston Celtics
Boom bitch!
No mention of a basketball Mt. Rushmore can be complete with mentioning the greatest winner in team sports history. In fact one of the most telling statistics about Russell led teams was they played in 10 game 7s and won all 10 of those games. Eleven championships aside Russell is considered to be the greatest defensive player of all time. Unlike today where the blocked shot is seen as a competition to volleyball spike the ball as hard as you can, Russell not only blocked the shot but was so skilled at it he could knock it to an already running point guard and spear head the fast break.

Magic Johnson, PG, Los Angeles Lakers

The only way to describe Magic Johnson is that he was the prototype for a guy like Lebron. Never before had there been a player who was 6’9, could run the point, defend all 5 positions and do it well and score from literally anywhere on the floor. His on the court contributions along with his rivalry with Larry Bird literally saved the NBA. Before the Bird/Magic years of the NBA the championship was shown on a tape delay. That certainly makes one worthy of mention in my Mt. Rushmore.

Larry Bird, SF, Boston Celtics

For all the reasons I mentioned above I could apply here. The thing to remember about Larry Bird was that he was a stone cold assassin. There are two stories that describe Bird perfectly. First during the 1986 3 Point Shooting Contest, Bird in warm ups walks into the locker room and looks around and says "I want all of you to know I am winning this thing. I'm just looking around to see who's gonna finish up second." He won. And of course there is the classic tale of his encounter with Chuck Person who made the mistake of trash talking Bird before a game on Christmas. Bird at the tip let him know he had a Christmas gift for him. While Person was on the bench Bird shot a three-pointer while in front of him. Immediately after shooting, Bird said to Person, "Merry fucking Christmas!" Swish. Legend made.

Michael Jordan, SG, Chicago Bulls

A duh inclusion, as the greatest player of all time he is a must for this Mt. Rushmore. Jordan was the first primarily wing player to completely dominate the game. And while Bird and Magic pulled the game out the proverbial gutter it was Jordan to who helped to take that game to the next level. He was a beast defensively, an above the rim player and a personality that was needed for the game.

Well folks that’s my list of the NBA Mt. Rushmore. Feel free to let me know what yours is, just know you’re not changing mine.

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