It’s possibly the worst argument in the incredibly terrible universe of sports talk shows and general opinions. “Who would be on your Mount Rushmore?” unoriginal and troll-baiting talking heads ask each other, because the only way to credibly and intelligently choose the best players in a professional sport’s history is to limit the conversation to four people. Why four? Because that’s the number of faces that were carved into Mount Rushmore by the time that people gave up on the project 73 years ago. Despite the fact that the dude who came up with the idea didn’t even want the sculpture to feature presidents, like any good idea, it was hijacked and that’s what it became – a celebration of four great presidents.
Debating the idea of the Mt. Rushmore argument is stupid, though, because it’s forever cemented in the ESPN #EmbraceDebate playbook with ideas like ranking fanbases (in spite of markets and population) and shouting louder than the other guy. It also doesn’t help when a guy like LeBron James hangs his hat and future on Mt. Rushmore as well, as he recently declared that his Mt. Rushmore features Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, while declaring that he will eventually end up in his own Top 4… the one that he created.
At least Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows how stupid Mt. Rushmore is, even if he just handed Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith enough material to get them through at least one week of shouting stupid bullshit into each other’s ears.
“It’s impossible,” he said of picking just four players. “I don’t know what LeBron was thinking. He didn’t even see Bill Russell play. He has no idea what Bill Russell did. Eleven championships in 13 years? Eight in a row? LeBron isn’t going to get anywhere near that. I don’t get it. And here he didn’t want Bill Russell on his Rushmore. I think today’s players have a very limited perspective on the game.”
“LeBron has to re-think that,” he added. “He needs to go and do some research and watch some old film, and hopefully he’ll be impressed.”
“I don’t think any of the big men playing today could have coped with the big men of that era,” he said. “Wilt Chamberlain would have crushed those guys.” (Via the Salt Lake Tribune)
Groan. And so a million people dug in and went to town on the meaningless age-old debate of now vs. then. Would LeBron James be able to dominate against Michael Jordan or Bill Russell? Who knows? Who cares? We don’t know. No one will ever know. Mt. Rushmore is something for tourists to take pictures in front of, not for lazy sports people to argue over. In fact, on my Mt. Rushmore of stupid sports arguments, I’ve included Mt. Rushmore, Mt. Rushmore, Mt. Rushmore and Mt. Rushmore.