OTG Roundtable: All-Time Favorite NBA Players Mount Rushmore
Currently, Off the Glass is running an NBA Mount Rushmore series. In this series, we look at who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of each team in the league. To play off of that we got some of the guys at OTG together to give their All-Time Favorite NBA Players Mount Rushmore!
Jonathan Ebrahimi - @EBRA07
As a kid, I didn’t want to be ‘like Mike’ – I wanted to be like Iverson. At just under 6-feet, Iverson is the greatest pound-for-pound scorer in league history. In an era dominated by big men like Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki. Iverson consistently stole the show. If you missed Iverson’s prime years, just imagine if you put Russell Westbrook’s mentality and Kyrie Irving’s skillset in Isaiah Thomas’ body – he was electric.
In the early 2000s Shaquille O’Neal became the most unstoppable player in league history, but Shaq was so much more than that. No player in league history has brought as much personality to the game of basketball and that is likely what was so endearing about the guy. Shaq wasn’t just exciting to watch, he made the game fun.
Simply put, LeBron James is the best basketball player I have ever seen in my life. No one has ever had his combined all-time scoring acumen with all-time play-making like LeBron, and for my money, he was the greatest athlete I’ve ever seen in the NBA. Being able to watch his entire career unfold has been an absolute privilege.
What is there not to love about Damian Lillard? Even though he was so underrated for so long, the guy just gets better and better every season. He can do just about everything on the court whether it be electrifying dunks, slick finishes at the rim, or clutch game-winners from the logo. In my estimation, Dame is one of the most exciting players in league history.
Jac Manuell - @TheJmanJBT
There are few viewing experiences that compare to watching a memorable Kyrie Irving game. Uncle Drew is one of the most dazzling spectacles when he is on with skills that few players can match. I’ve been lucky enough to see the spectacle of Irving live. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.
There are baby photos of me wearing a Chicago Bulls tee spread around my family home. Before I even knew I’d fall in love with the game of basketball I was Bulls obsessed. LeBron is the reason my love for the sport grew to a fervent level, but Jordan was the gateway drug.
Via. Essentially Sports
I’m obsessed with the NBA. I podcast about it on a near-daily basis and communicate about it with friends incessantly. The reason that passion is in me is due to King James. One of my fondest memories is watching LeBron and the Cavs come back to win the championship over the 73-9, 2016 Golden State team. It was something like 2 am in London and I had to temper my elation as I didn’t want to wake my housemates in London. Thank you, LeBron for turning me into a basketball obsessive.
The grace, poise and humility Duncan showed when he played is something I try and take with me in my daily life. Everything was understated for The Big Fundamental. The accolades certainly weren’t as he’s one of the most accomplished stars the league has ever seen.
Honorable Mention: Shaquille O’Neal
Via. Bleacher Report
Dominance. Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant an athlete that I’ve ever seen in any sport. His size, physicality and athleticism personified traits I love in the game of basketball. It didn’t hurt that he was a big goofball either.
Charles Allen - @yourguycharles
You can look at the stats, the points scored, the longevity, but Dirk makes my personal favorite Mount Rushmore because of the person he is. He was humble, he was sincere, he was loyal, he was funny. He was the type of player who you wish you could hang out with. Oh and he happened to score 31,560 points while ushering in a new era for the NBA big man.
Rarely do you find a guy who impacts a game the way Big Ben did, while only having a career point per game average of 5.7. He was a no nonsense center who thrived off intimidating opposing players with his defense and I thought there were few players in the league who were cooler than him. He’s one of two players to earn the Defensive Player of the Year four time, he’s the definition of toughness.
I fell in love with T-Mac’s game in Orlando. When he became a Rocket, this Dallas Mavericks-loving heart struggled. I wanted my team to beat him badly every time, but I also loved the way he played the game. His all-around game and ability to score during his prime years
I tried to limit myself to only putting one Dallas Maverick, but Nash will not be remembered for his time in Dallas, much to the chagrin of Mavs fans. Nash was tough in a way different way from most players, but still one of the toughest guys I’ve watched. His ability to run the floor, make the right pass, and be a lights out shooter while getting his entire team involved is nearly unmatched in the NBA.
Khaleel Abdullah - @its_khaleel
As a Phoenix Suns fan, this choice is relatively easy. Steve Nash led the "seven seconds or less" offense and won back-to-back MVPs during the times I enjoyed playing the most and I modeled my game after his. He's one of the best offensive point guards in NBA history and it's a shame he couldn't get at least one ring. Still, he was a very crafty playmaker and made his teammates better while making the game so much fun to watch and that's why he's at the top for me.
Outside of my Phoenix Suns, Reggie Miller is my favorite player in NBA history. He is known as one of the greatest shooters of his era but in my opinion, I think he's one of the greatest shooters ever and he'd be my choice if I had to choose one player to take the last shot at the end of a clutch game with my team needing a win. I enjoyed watching him have his huge games in the playoffs, especially against the Knicks and talking trash to Spike Lee. "Miller Time" was one of my favorite phrases as the man was simply clutch. If you doubt me, watch him score 8 points in 9 seconds and then we'll talk.
His streetball style game never led to a ring and he has to be on the list as one of the greatest to never hoist the Larry O'Brien. He came close to what ESPN labeled a David and Goliath moment when he scored 48 points and beat the Shaq and Kobe Lakers in Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals. A.I. was special, tough and when he got hurt, he pushed through and stayed on the court, taking it personal and willing the Sixers to a W instead of sitting out like the majority of players in this modern game. His handles and crossover are the best ever in my opinion and he was just so much fun to watch.
This is tough as it's so hard to just pick four. I started thinking about T-Mac's unlimited range, then Dirk's ability to shoot at his size and Dr. J staying airborne while M.J. started coming down. However, I choose Mount Mutombo as I picture him giving all the runners up the epic finger wag. He was a shot-blocking force and it was a pleasure watching him emphatically reject any player that tried to take it to the rim against him. Also, it was impressive how at times he outplayed Yao Ming when he was his backup on the Rockets. That just showed how dominant he was even as he got older.
Musaab Nadeem - @mnadeem824
The definitive icon of the most iconic franchise. Kobe lit it up offensively and locked you up defensively. He was a pleasure to watch because you could see how badly he wanted to win, and then he won.
The one player who never takes a play, off. If he’s in the game, he is trying harder than anyone else on the floor. His unbridled energy, pursuit of the ball, and aggression towards the rim makes him perhaps not the perfect player, but to me the most entertaining.
One of the most underrated players I’ve watched. He was smooth with the ball in his hands and could move like a guard and was skilled at nearly all facets of the game. Every time I replay a Lakers game he was in, I’m continually impressed with his basketball IQ and decision making on the court.
An exceptionally skilled big man who was the perfect piece to complete the Lakers during their run of titles. Gasol will always be remembered by me for his special passing ability and his evolution into the gritty player who pushed through Boston in Game 7.
Victor Sabatel - @Vic_Sab
LeBron came into the league as the most hyped prospect in NBA history and has managed to exceed even his most vehement supporter’s wildest expectations. LeBron’s success is a testament to his talent and maturity, there isn’t an athlete in the modern era that has endured the level of media scrutiny and criticism of LeBron James. The self-proclaimed King has firmly cemented his status as the greatest player of his generation and one of the game GOATs.
Via. CBS Sports
Michael Jordan’s influence on the game of basketball is undeniable, he has made his mark with sneakers, clothes, commercials, and movies. Jordan rewrote the script on what professional athletes could achieve as entrepreneurs setting the bar for generations to come. All of these “off the court” accomplishments were built on Michael’s “on the floor” heroics, he was a winner and a closer of the highest order. Michael Jordan not only elevated the game of basketball but he changed the way the world views its professional athletes.
Via. The Press-Enterprise
For my money, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal are the most dominant forces in modern sports history. If Michael Jordan‘s perimeter game was a work of art, Shaq’s interior presence was the stuff of nightmares. I’ve read about the exploits of Kareem and Wilt but I was able to watch Shaq’s reign of terror play out in real-time, he dominated in an era chock full of Hall of Famers at his position. Truly one of a kind!
If Michael Jordan’s story is defined by his success, Kobe’s tale celebrates the journey to success. Kobe redefined his position in the game throughout the years from a capable sidekick to the game’s premier player. Kobe’s work ethic and competitive spirit have been embedded in basketball lore and will carry his legacy for years to come. Long live the Mamba!
Kory Waldron - @Kwalhoops
If you know me or know of me, you may already know what Kobe Bryant means to me. My love for the game came from watching Kobe Bryant, as many say he really was our Jordan. He really was too, as we have learned & seen they shared so many moves, knowledge & had that same killer mentality. The mentality & desire to win from Kobe is what set him apart from so many others. As for the player of Kobe Bryant, he could do it all & had an uncanny ability to dig deeper in the biggest moments. Mamba forever!
For years & years when it came to LeBron I hated him! I couldn’t stand the decision he made to head to Miami, then somehow through watching him beat up on the Indiana Pacers he won me over. LeBron James is the most gifted athlete I’ve ever seen & the most complete player. There’s nothing LeBron can’t do on the basketball court, his passing ability has always been one of my favorite aspects of his game.
Now I know Paul George broke many Pacers fans' hearts when he demanded a trade & left the way he did. It bothered me as well of course but the fact is for years he was the star of my favorite team. I watched him blossom into the borderline superstar he was becoming, an elite two-way wing who when he has it going offensively makes it look so easy!
Now I’ve soured on Westbrook slightly the last couple of years due to his inability to shoot. However, for the majority of his time in Oklahoma City, I absolutely loved how tenacious his play was. Westbrook would punish the rim & showed off his incredible athletic ability on a nightly basis. The year Westbrook averaged a triple-double was by far the most incredible regular season I have ever seen from a player. The dramatic finish vs the Denver Nuggets to get triple-double 42 while also hitting a game-winner was a storybook ending. Players who play with an all or nothing, it’s all about the win mentality always stick out to me & Westbrook embodies just that.