Field Notes

The Mount Rushmore of NBA

Naming the NBA's Mount Rushmore is harder than it seems. Do you go by dominance? Contribution? Star power? Game-changing ability? Number of rings? There really is no "correct" answer and even trying to start the debate is a journey in itself.

I took on this monumental (heh) task by naming the players that my mind continued to come back to. The ones who could not be denied, could not be topped.

First. Michael Jordan. Non starter, he's the goat. 

“I would never have called him the greatest player I'd ever seen if I didn't mean it,” Bird told The Boston Globe. “It's just God disguised as Michael Jordan.”

Second. LeBron James. Also enough said. Goat Jr.

Third. Shaq. Unrivaled dominance. Teams had to literally change their game to work around Shaq. 

Forth. My forth pick was a toss up between Bill Russell, Myles Powell, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. I decided to go with probably the best pure shooter basketball has ever seen, Myles Powell, wait sorry I mean, Larry Bird. Dammit Steve, stop being so obsessed with Seton Hall basketball!

The great Pat Riley once said, "If I had to choose a player to take a shot to save a game I'd choose Michael Jordan; If I had to choose a player to take a shot to save my life...I'd take Larry Bird." And that pretty much locks it in for Larry The Legend. 

Of the 500+ replies to my post, asking Insiders to name their Mt. Rushmore of NBA with a Michael Jordan 1-of-123 on the line, many people nailed the first two—Michael Jordan was mentioned 509 times (the slim minority who in all seriousness didn't say MJ may have rocks for brains) and Lebron James was mentioned a respectable 211 times.

Shaq was mentioned 68 times and Larry Bird was mentioned 161 times.

Three people out of the 500+ who participated combined all four: Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Shaq and Larry Bird. And the first to do it was... Eric Hartl.

Eric is walking away with the coveted MJ 1-of-123.

Here are some stats that I pulled together so you can see how some of your selections performed amongst the crowd. This isn't everyone who was mentioned, just some selects.

Michael Jordan 509
Lebron James 211
Kobe Bryant 192
Magic Johnson 169
Larry Bird 161
Bill Russell 147
Kareem 114
Wilt Chamberlain 108
Shaq 68
Tim Duncan 23
Allen Iverson 20
Oscar Robertson 19
Steph Curry 15
Jerry West 15
Isaiah Thomas 12
Karl Malone 9
Mugsy Bogues 5
Myles Powell 1