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Stan Van Gundy would put LeBron on his Mount Rushmore now

Feb 12, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

Heat Media Day Basketball AP

It’s been the barstool debate of the day around the NBA — who is on your Mt. Rushmore of the NBA?

LeBron James gave his (Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson) then awakened the legions that want to hate him by saying when his career was over his face should be on that mountain.

Stan Van Gundy says it already should be.

Like the rest of us, Van Gundy struggled to narrow it down to four when asked about it on the Amani and Eytan Show on NBC Sports Radio Tuesday night.

“Man, you’re talking four guys on Mount Rushmore. So, for me, I got Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson there for sure, Michael Jordan and, probably… yea, I’ll put LeBron there.

“Look, you could probably throw a lot of other names at me and I’d say ‘yea,’ it’s tough. Really it’s tough. How do you leave out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? How do you leave out Magic Johnson? How do you leave out Larry Bird? How do you leave out Jerry West? We could go on and on, guys like Elgin Baylor, when you’re trying to get it to four guys it’s going to be hard. But on mine, yea, I’ll go with Wilt, Oscar, Michael Jordan and LeBron. That’s at least as good a four as anybody else is going to put up there.”

Here’s my question about the NBA’s Mount Rushmore: Does it have to be just players? If not, doesn’t David Stern or Red Auerbach get a spot for how they influenced and changed the game?

It’s hard to narrow the list down even if it is just players. Personally, I’d go with Magic, Jordan, Kareem and Bill Russell as players, but I’m not fully comfortable with that small a list. When it’s all said and done will LeBron be in that group? Maybe. He’s going to go down as the best athlete to ever play the game, but he’s in his prime now and we don’t know what the resume will look like when he hangs it up. A few years after he does, that’s when we can talk legacy with him.

  1. cantonbound13 - Feb 12, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    Nice to see Stan is spending more time with his family.

    • bjornreyes - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:09 PM

      No PED comments today?

      Repent. The end of the world is near.

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:03 AM

        Not everything is about LeBron. I was more interested in Stan. I know how some on here are caught up in all the ridiculous hype. One day they will see what a fraud “the king” is.

    • leahcima1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:55 AM

      Cantonjerk0 forgot how to spell PEDs. Besides he’s in mourning, – LeBron put another nail in Jerk’s (I hope Cantonjerk doesn’t mind me using his nickname?) coffin, a three with .01 left on the clock. lol

      • cantonbound13 - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:59 AM

        It was .2 on the clock. I guess there’s still no reception at the trailer parks.

      • leahcima1 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:28 PM

        Oh man how can anyone compete with a quick wit like Jerko’s. You got me jerko I was 100% off on the time I guess. How are those Knicks doing jerko? lol

  2. timcast12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    I swear he’s in LOVE with Lebron. Rides on his d!ck

    • ranfan12 - Feb 12, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      why u gotta hate on svg

  3. sportsfan18 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    Well, Van Gundy is entitled to his opinion. As to me, Kareem still has done more in the game than LBJ. Now LBJ’s career isn’t finished as we all know, but if Mr. Van Gundy means right now, well here are the facts.

    Kareen 6 time league MVP
    LBJ 4 time league MVP

    Kareem 6 titles
    LBJ 2 titles

    Kareem ALL TIME leading scorer in league history
    LBJ about to enter top 25 (before turning 30, amazing in its own right)

    Kareem 19 time All Star
    LBJ 9 time All Star

    Kareem 10 times 1st team all NBA
    LBJ 7 times 1st team all NBA

    Kareem 5 times 2nd team all NBA
    LBJ 2 time 2nd team all NBA

    Kareem 5 times 1st defensive team NBA
    LBJ 5 times 1st defensive team NBA

    Kareem 6 times 2nd defensive team NBA

    Again, LBJ’s career is not finished, but right NOW, Kareem is above LBJ on the list of all time greats and Kareem has the stats and hardware to back it up, MVP’s, titles and so much more…

    • aboogy123456 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      I think your argument brings up an interesting point. Is being an all-time great measured by how long you were great (as you have done in your argument). Or is it measured by who’s peak was the highest? I think it’s a combination, but I would lean more towards whose peak was the highest.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:37 PM

      Kareem wasn’t as lethally efficient as LeBron – he was close though (probably about as close as you can get without actually being it) – but he was not really at that level where LeBron, MJ and Wilt reside (which is why Kareem is my 4th selection after those 3). And Kareem could not affect the game in as many ways as LeBron James, obviously. No one really could – that’s why he’s up there.

      • money2long - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Anti keeps a bottle of Poland spring nearby to moisten his mouth after all his SLURPING

      • antistratfordian - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        All you can come up with is capitalize slurping? It doesn’t work. It’s far too ubiquitous to have any bite.

      • aboogy123456 - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:02 PM

        ANTIstratfordian? more like stratfordian.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        hahaha that was so clever and funny – ive never heard that one before either. man, you guys are mixing things up in the best of ways today.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        Wasn’t as efficient? Kareem has higher career FG%, less career ToPG, higher career eFG%.

    • musician0785 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:38 PM

      Kareem is the GOAT..dominated every level of basketball

      • money2long - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:10 PM

        i respect lebron and his greatness. at the moment i do think kareem or bill russell deserve the 4th spot. lebron will have something to say when it’s over. but those two big men are very iconic right now. yes, i remember wilt.

  4. aboogy123456 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Kobe is the most misunderstood basketball player I can remember. He is absolutely phenomenal, and the greatest i’ve ever seen, but lazy fans just don’t see it that way. I would also disagree with Van gundy and put kareem ahead of wilt, I just think he was better.

    • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      Kobe’s not even the best in his generation..that goes toward Tim Duncan, but its just my opinion (and no im not a kobe hater)

    • au1978 - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:51 PM

      I AM a Kobe hater, mostly because of things in his personal life, but I think dude should be on Mt. Rushmore. He WILLS his team to excel. He is all about excellence. Can’t stand him as a decent human being, but as a basketball player, he’s 7phenomenal plain and simple.

      • mannyfresh209 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:33 AM

        Kobe, talent-wise, is a top 5 player of all time. As far as actually putting the wheels in motion, he leaves too much to be desired. He hasn’t done ANYTHING without a loaded team, besides scoring 35ppg in a year they didn’t make the playoffs.

      • musician0785 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:52 AM

        loaded team?

        Derek Fisher

        Took that team to the finals….loaded?

  5. eagles512 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    I like van gundys 4

    • bkbell3 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Please stop with russell and his 11 rings, I believe it is sam jones on his team that has 10 rings so why isn’t he on the list. Russell was on loaded teams and shot 45% as a 6’11” 217 pound center. He was great but wilt killed him most of the time. You put wilt on those teams and they would of won as much or more titles. Titles don’t have anything to do with GOAT or mount rushmore. We are talking beat players.Jerry west was a 6’3″ 170 pound 2 guard who is way slower, less quick and weaker than guys like jorden,wade kobe,drexler ect. That’s why it’s so hard to compare era’s. Bob Cousey was a 6′ white boy with a set shot and didn’t dribble all that well with his left hand, how would he be in the league in the last 25 years. Hard to leave jabbar out of the group but skill wise and talent wise he can’t compare to mj but his all round #’s are hard to ignore. Talent wise it’s the same with lebron. And anyone who thinks a specimen like lebron with his speed, size and strength wouldn’t have thrived in the rough and tumble eighties and nineties is just crazy. How would you like lebron covering you with his strength and able to hand check you?

      • spursareold - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        Russell was the straw that stirred the drink. Sam Jones wasn’t. I agree with you that you can’t JUST compare rings, because a lot of Celtics, plus guys like Horry and Kerr won fistfuls, but when it comes down to franchise guys, and Russell was Boston’s, it’s a good measuring stick.

  6. 15starr - Feb 12, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    1 through 5

    • savvybynature - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      Except, not really. When they put him on Hibbert or Howard for an entire second half in the playoffs let me know.

      • mannyfresh209 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:34 AM

        When anybody does what LeBron James does on a nightly basis, let me know.

  7. loungefly74 - Feb 12, 2014 at 4:18 PM

    there is no definitive answer, lets remember that. can we safely say MJ makes the mountain? i think he is on everyone’s list. anyway, gundy’s list is valid. personally, i like to wait till they retire to commemorate them.

    great stats on KAJ, sportsfan18.

  8. eagles512 - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Wilt would dominate KAJ

  9. davidly - Feb 12, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    If someone came along and said this entire conversation is retarded, they’d be giving it entirely too much credit.

  10. soopreme - Feb 12, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Good to see that people are starting to realize how dominate a player that Lebron really is.
    Keep in mind that he has at least 5 to 6 years of peak performance left.
    When its all said and done I think he will end up number 2 all time barring a major injury.

    • mannyfresh209 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:37 AM

      The fact that people say “MJ has 6 rings, Kobe has 5. Let’s talk once LeBron gets 2-3” (prior to him winning his 1st) as an argument against LeBron, speaks to how great he really is.

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