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The Mt. Rushmore of Sports

Who made the cut? A list by our Sports Editor.

From+top+clockwise%3A+Michael+Jordan%2C+LeBron+James%2C+Muhammed+Ali%2C+and+Tom+Brady.
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The Mt. Rushmore of Sports

From top clockwise: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Muhammed Ali, and Tom Brady.

From top clockwise: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Muhammed Ali, and Tom Brady.

Photo by Creative Commons

From top clockwise: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Muhammed Ali, and Tom Brady.

Photo by Creative Commons

Photo by Creative Commons

From top clockwise: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Muhammed Ali, and Tom Brady.

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Mt Rushmore is a giant sculpture carved into the Black Hills region of South Dakota. It depicts arguably the four greatest Presidents in the history of the United States, and it started to get me thinking. Who would be the on the Mt Rushmore of Sports?

There have been athletes throughout the history of athletics that have “changed the game” or changed the world. But four athletes in my opinion have been most influential in their sport as well as in the world.

Let’s start with Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player ever. People looked at him as if he was a god. He was worshiped like no other athlete in history and he also started a movement for athletes to wear custom shoes and have their own brands that really was non-existent before. While everyone was wearing Converse, he signed a deal with Nike to play wearing  his own shoes. He was fined every time he wore them but he stayed persistent and eventually the shoes were permitted and others like LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant followed in his footsteps. Mike is not not only a sports icon, but a cultural icon. You may not know a thing about basketball, but everyone knows who Michael Jordan is.

LeBron James is the second athlete that belongs on this list. It may seem a little biased towards basketball for two NBA players to be on the list, but they are both so deserving of this honor. LeBron is, if not the greatest ever, a very close second. He’s done more for his teams individually over his career than anybody this game has ever seen. There’s never been a player quite like him… As big, as strong, as fast, and as skilled all in one package. If you were designing a player to be unstoppable, you’d design LeBron James. Beyond basketball he’s also done so much for his community and for the world. He’s spoken out on social injustice issues on more than one occasion, he’s sent thousands of kids from his hometown to college fully paid, and on top of all of that, this past summer he built a school for troubled kids in his area. He pays for everything in the school like food, uniforms, and transportation; he is an inspiration to kids all around.

The third athlete chosen is Muhammad Ali.  He was never an overpowering puncher, but relied more on his extremely fast speed, and defensive tactics. Renowned by many as the greatest boxer to ever live, he was more than just a pair of gloves and a ring. Even more than his boxing, he’s known for his social activism. He was an advocate for rights of blacks in a time where they really didn’t have many. He refused to be drafted in the Vietnam War because he didn’t want to “drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” Ali was considered dangerous by some; to be so talented at his craft but at the same time be so anti-authority, in some eyes it made for a bad combination.

Finally, the fourth and final athlete on the Mt Rushmore of sports is… Tom Brady. As difficult it is for some to accept, he’s more than deserving of this honor. Brady for twenty years now has been the cornerstone of greatness and winning. He’s been to eight Super Bowls in his time as starting quarterback, and he’s won five of them. Most teams can’t even get to a Super Bowl, forget about winning one. But Brady has gotten it done on more than one occasion and you can’t deny him anymore. On top of the winning he’s now also taking records, throwing the most touchdowns ever and also throwing for over 70,000 yards. Love him or hate him, he has to be put up here and recognized as the greatest quarterback to ever live.

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The Mt. Rushmore of Sports