Last week, LeBron James stirred up a hornets’ nest with his comments on who he thought should be on the Mt. Rushmore of NBA basketball. James left Bill Russell off his list. The problem with this debate is you’re limited to only four faces on the mountain. Of course, this sparked a debate all over the sports world. People debated things from NBA Mt. Rushmore to the ESPN sport’s personalities Mt. Rushmore.
This had me wondering about the Mt. Rushmore of different positions in the NBA. The power-forward is an interesting debate to me because of where Dirk Nowitzki ranks on the all-time list. Obviously there is no argument as to who the best of all-time is so we will put Tim Duncan on the list and start with No. 2.
In my book, there are four other players battling for the next three-positions: Kevin Garnett, Karl Malone, Dirk and Charles Barkley. Theoretically all four of them have an argument for being on the list, but I have to narrow it down to three.
Barkley gets on there for the way he revolutionized the game. He was shorter than most power-forwards yet he played with a tenacity and a toughness that was the envy of a lot of people. Garnett also gets on the list because of what he did while he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves. One of the first players to make the leap from high school to the NBA, Garnett did so with a vengeance. Garnett’s ability to play defense and cover almost every position on the floor sets him apart in my book.
That leaves two players for one position. Malone was a great player and was in the NBA Finals twice. It’s a shame that he suffered from what everyone else in that era did too: playing against Michael Jordan‘s Chicago Bulls. However, I wonder what he would have been without the greatest point-guard of all time in John Stockton. A lot of Malone’s points came from the fact that he was on the receiving end of a Stockton fast break.
Dirk, on the other hand, single-handedly put his team on his back and carried them to a championship. For 21 games during the 2011 playoffs, there was no question who the best player on the court was. During that playoff run, he outplayed Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron and Dwyane Wade. For this reason, Dirk gets the final spot on the Mt. Rushmore for power-forwards.