Mount Rushmore, when put into a sports context, has become overblown into the most meaningless debates in sports circles. The mere fact that only four players in this fictitious scenario can be considered for NBA greatness is the dumbest assertion that anyone can make. Heck, why not the seven wonders of NBA history (Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), or how about the 13 pioneers of the NBA (in relation to the 13 original American colonies)? Or, how about we consult a list that was previously made to stop these debates from happening (the 50 greatest players in NBA history, named in 1996). With all of these notions aside, Boston Celtics‘ legend Bill Russell effectively put this ridiculous debate to rest.
During a sideline report by Craig Sager during the All-Star game, Russell previously spoke to LeBron James during All-Star Weekend about James’ own inclusion on the proverbial Mount Rushmore of NBA greatness. Russell was perfect on the court, winning 11 NBA championships, two NCAA championships and even two high school championships.
Russell said that the NBA Mount Rushmore of greatness was associated with only individual greatness rather than team success. Russell in fact was even glad that he did not make James’ list and took another slight dig at James in talking about what all NBA players play for the most, team success and championships.
The NBA already has a hallowed hall of greatness that has not been chiseled in stone or is visible to everyone on the outside. This shrine of greatness is in Springfield, Massachusetts where 97 true “NBA” legends have earned their place among the greatest of all time as Hall of Famers. I know I am in the far minority here, but why can’t we just acknowledge that NBA greatness cannot be limited to only four individuals on a metaphorical mountain that doesn’t exist.
For the “final take” on this issue, the last time I checked, every candidate who is elected, player or contributor, to the Hall of Fame gets the same title of Basketball Hall of Famer. There is no mention of a residence on Mount Rushmore or has the special label of the greatest of all time.