The interview between Steve Smith and LeBron James has everyone around the league talking about what a mountain with four NBA-player faces sculpted into rock would look like. In other words, who are the four greatest players in NBA history? LeBron thinks he will be one of the four greatest by the time he hangs up his sneakers, listing Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the current four. He said the architects would have to decide who to bump in construction.
Yeah, yeah, LeBron's great -- did you see that step-back three to beat Stephen Curry and the Warriors in one of the better games of the season? But I want to discuss a Detroit Pistons Mount Rushmore. That's far more interesting and relevant to this biased blog.
After the Pistons sold out their 100th straight game during the 2005-2006 season, Dave Howell compiled the Top 100 Pistons of all-time on the team's website, ranking Isiah Thomas, Dave Bing, Joe Dumars and Bob Lanier as the Top Four. HoopsHype agreed just this past August, albeit in a slightly different order.
NBA Mount Rushmore Day
NBA Mount Rushmore Day
For me, if I was architect, I'd take the task in a little bit of a different, more personal, direction. I would want the sculpture to depict the Pistons players who carved out a special place in my heart for this organization and those who then took my fandom to a whole new level. In looking at the numbers, Bob Lanier has to be among the Top Four greatest players in Pistons history, but I never had the privilege of watching him play. I know Gutzon Borglum never saw Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln in action; I'd just want to feel a stronger bond with my four.
Without further beating around the bush, and after much deliberation, I'd ultimately pick Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups. My top two omissions are Ben Wallace and Bill Laimbeer. Here are my six in comparison of one another by the B-Ref numbers. The name that probably sticks out to many fans is Hill's, but he was my favorite player during my formative, basketball-playing years.
I'll explain my picks in more detail in the comments, if you'd like, but I want to hear about your imaginary mountains. This isn't an exercise in being right or wrong, although I guess you could be very wrong if you pick Darko. I've created a form for you to submit your picks and I'll create a separate post early next week with the most popular four picks (and maybe a photoshop of it if someone wants to volunteer to do it for us).