Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sports Mount Rushmore

I was reading today where David Poole of the Charlotte Observer said that Richard Petty's face is, "stock-car's Rushmore". That gave me a thought and if you stuck around this long, may as well bare with me long enough to see where I am going with this. So just who is each sport's face for Mount Rushmore? I know things like this are subjective pending your viewpoint and statistics but I made a list of who I would choose in 9 different sports and so here is who I would pick for the top 4 faces for each of their sports. These are not in any particular order, just who I think best represents the sport. Not everything is statistically based but some will be while others are just people who have contributed greatly to the sport. Some were pioneers of the sport while others just excelled. If you disagree with my choices, feel free to prove me wrong and not only state who you think belongs but who I should remove and why.

  • NASCAR: Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip.
  • MLB: Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr.
  • NFL: Walter Payton, Joe Namath, Bart Starr, Jim Brown
  • NBA: Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Michael Jordan
  • Golf: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Bobby Jones
  • Lacrosse: Jim Brown, Gary Gait, Paul Gait, Roy D. Simmons Jr.
  • Pro Wrestling: Ric Flair, Lou Thesz, Antonio Inoki, Vince McMahon Jr.
  • Tennis: Billy Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras
  • Hockey: Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux

These are not picked to stimulate conversation, these are the people I would honestly choose and I will break down a couple picks below that some may not agree with.

  • Jim Brown made both NFL and lacrosse because he was one of the best to ever play both sports and had lacrosse been as popular as the NFL, I believe he may have played that. In fact, he was the top scorer when he played and is in both Hall Of Fames as well.
  • Vince McMahon Jr is one that people will ask why he was picked instead of Hulk Hogan but I think if Vince doesn't expand and have the vision he had, Hulk Hogan would not be the name he is now. Sure, Hogan's character was great and transcended into pop culture but Vince saw his potential and gave him that chance. Plus, when you consider not only his ideas to expand beyond territories but explore pay per view and his ability to make stars, sorry but he has more in his favor then Hogan. Plus, if I put Hogan on here, do we then debate whether Steve Austin should be as well since he pioneered the "Attitude" era?
  • Bobby Jones was picked because he was essentially what many consider Tiger to be today, a common man's player. He was the guy from a small town who people related to and rooted for. Do I think Tiger Woods could be a face of golf one day? Sure but his career is not over and it will take years to know if his legacy is still as strong as we believe it to be while Bobby Jones played many years ago and to this day is a top influence in the game.
  • Roy D. Simmons Jr. was not only a top player in the sport who was second only to Jim Brown in scoring in 1957 but is the only coach who won 4 national lacrosse titles and only the second to do 3 of them consecutively during his tenure at Syracuse University. Sure, my lacrosse heads resemble all Orange but to me, all four belong and Roy's stats as a player and a coach to me speak volumes of his contributions to the sport.
  • Cal Ripken Jr. may contradict what I said about Tiger and waiting for some years to test the true legacy but Cal's here because he is one of the greatest embassadors of the game of baseball, on and off the field. He played hard and wanted to play everyday and played at a level that allowed him this chance. He has records and a championship but he also is an example of what hard work can get you and he went to the park everyday with the mentality that he was going to play hard and earn his position. Again, Tiger resembles many of these attributes as well but putting an active person in here when we have yet to see how their legacy will be remembered in my opinion is too premature.

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