Honorable Mention for Mount Rushmore:
Legacy: He’s the greatest shooter of all time and has single handedly changed the game more than any player in NBA history. However, he will never be able to make the NBA Mount Rushmore simply because of his size and stature. While this may not be fair a lot of fans and even NBA players don’t want to give Steph his proper due because of the type of player he is. He also needed to add Kevin Durant to a very formidable team for his most recent championships, making many people question if he’d have won them otherwise. He has a ton of question marks, but the one thing is undeniable is the fact he shattered his own NBA three-point record and set the league on fire leading the Warriors to a 73 win season, but that season left a sour taste in the Warriors mouths and has led to Kevin Durant being a 2 time Finals MVP instead of Curry.
Stats: Regular Season – 23.2 PTS 6.8 AST 4.4 REB 1.8 STL .479 FG% .438 3P% 16.9 FGA
Post Season – 26.1 PTS 6.4 AST 5.2 REB 1.7 STL .452 FG% .408 3P% 19.4 FGA
Accolades: 3X Champion, 2x All- NBA 1st Team, 5X NBA All-Star, 0X Finals MVP, 2X MVP
Official NBA Mount Rushmore
Legacy: The only player in NBA History to have 2 jersey numbers retired by the same franchise, a 5-time champion who left a lasting imprint on Lakers fans and the NBA as he did his best Michael Jordan impression. He even set the world on fire when he torched the Raptors for 81 points in a game that will stand as the highest scoring effort of this era and will never be forgotten. His accolades and stats are more comparable than anyone to his “Airness”, but Kobe came up short in several areas and his biggest failure was not being able to play alongside Shaq after the first 3 titles. His legacy with Laker fans is unquestionable, even though there are many in the media who would put Tim Duncan ahead of Kobe in terms of impact on the court, especially as Tim Duncan won 4 more championships after the Lakers Dynasty collapsed. However, in terms of the “NBA Mount Rushmore” you will never be able to have a conversation without Kobe Bean Bryant, he is cemented as one of most loved, hated, and talked about athletes the NBA has ever seen.
Stats: Regular Season – 25.0 PTS (Career High 81) 4.7 AST 5.2 REB 1.4 STL .447 FG%
Post Season – 25.6 PTS 4.7 AST 5.1 REB 1.4 STL .448 FG%
Accolades: 5X Champion, 11X All NBA 1st Team, 18X NBA All-Star, 2X Finals MVP, 2008 MVP, 9X All-NBA Defensive Team, 4X All-Star Game MVP
Legacy: The best passer in NBA history has a Legacy almost unmatched in the NBA outside of the other names on this list, he is a 5-time champion; with his most impressive victory coming in his rookie season. Being the number one pick to the Los Angeles Lakers where his Hall of Fame teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabar would get injured and miss Game 6 in which Magic Johnson moved from Point Guard to Center In the starting lineup and gave a performance for the ages as he scored 42 points to go with 15 rebounds and 7 assists. This made Earvin “Magic” Johnson not only live up to his nickname bestowed upon him at 15 years old but exceed its expectations in such a way that he is only known as Magic to this day. His career having been cut short due to an off the court illness may affect the way some look at Magic, but one thing is for certain you can’t begin a discussion of NBA history and great rivalries without evoking the name Magic.
Stats: Regular Season – 19.5 PTS 11.2 AST 7.2 REB 1.9 STL .520 FG%
Post Season – 19.5 PTS 12.3 AST 7.7 REB 1.9 STL .506 FG%
Accolades: 5X Champion, 9X All NBA 1st Team, 12X NBA All-Star, 3X Finals MVP, 3X MVP, 2X NBA Steals Leader, 2X All-Star Game MVP
Legacy: The long-standing G.O.A.T is a shoe in for this list, no matter if Lebron is on his coattails or is starting to spot him in his rear-view mirror, one thing is for certain and that is Jordan is the first or second entry on everyone’s Mount Rushmore. Being one of the few players in NBA history including many other greats such as Kobe and Magic failed to improve their game and numbers come playoff time, Jordan managed to increase his scoring by 3 points per game when the playoffs came around, which is the highest increase in NBA history out of qualified players. The only questions surrounding Jordan is the era in which he played didn’t have the sort of guards and wings we see in today’s NBA. But alas, this isn’t a G.O.A.T debate but simply which four NBA players are the most important to the legacy and history of the NBA.
Stats: Regular Season – 30.1 PTS 5.3 AST 6.2 REB 2.3 STL .497 FG% 22.9 FGA
Post Season – 33.4 PTS 5.7 AST 6.4 REB 2.1 STL .487 FG% 25.1 FGA
Accolades: 6X Champion, 10X All-NBA 1st Team, 14X NBA All-Star, 6X Finals MVP, 5X MVP, 9X All-NBA Defensive Team, 3X All-Star Game MVP, 1988 NBA DPOY
Legacy: Was it even going to be a question who was the final entry to the NBA Mount Rushmore? On his way to becoming the all-time leading scorer in NBA history as well as top 5 in assists all time. With a 3-6 finals record, many fans seem to either knock James or Praise him for his accomplishments, but one thing is certain no matter the argument and that is the fact that it is impossible to talk NBA basketball for the better part of a decade without brining up Lebron James. This is something that doesn’t seem like it’s slowing down as many Hall of Famers and contemporaries from his very draft class are either on their way out of the NBA or already retired; while he still seems to have another 5+ years of high-level basketball left in him. We are witnessing a true Iron Man as he has defyed the odds and father time on his way to becoming one of the single greatest basketball players to ever live without argument.
Stats: Regular Season – 27.2 PTS 7.2 AST 7.4 REB 1.6 STL 0.8 BLK .504 FG% 19.6 FGA
Post Season – 28.9 PTS 7.1 AST 8.9 REB 1.8 STL 1.0 BLK .491 FG% 20.9 FGA
Accolades: (Still Active) 3X Champion, 12X All-NBA 1st Team, 14X NBA All-Star, 3X Finals MVP, 4X MVP, 5X All-NBA Defensive Team