Mount Rushmore, located in South DakotaÕs Black Hills, is a national memorial open daily.
Earlier this year, LeBron James told NBA TV that the NBA’s ‘‘Mount Rushmore’’ would feature Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson. Asked whether he would make his way onto it, LeBron said: ‘‘I’m going to be one of the top four that’s ever played this game, for sure. Somebody’s gotta get bumped.’’
This ignited a debate about the top four players in NBA history — No Wilt Chamberlain? Bill Russell? Elgin Baylor? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? — but I’m not qualified to say. What I am qualified to say is this:
I would wager that 85 percent of Americans couldn’t name the four presidents carved into the granite face of the actual Mount Rushmore. Sure, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln might be gimmes, but most natural and naturalized U.S. citizens forget The Other Guy.
(Not to be too blunt about it, but Americans’ strong suit isn’t American history.)
Anyway, thanks to LeBron, Couch Slouch got to thinking about other Mount Rushmores out there:
Mount Rushmore of philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Nietzsche. I hesitate to honor Nietzsche because the man was a real downer. Honorable mention to Sartre, who wouldn’t accept his Nobel Prize in literature in 1964 to protest the values of bourgeois society, and to Socrates, who said, ‘‘All I know is that I know nothing.’’
Mount Rushmore of baseball stadiums: Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Tiger Stadium (defunct), PNC Park. Yeah, I’m taking the newfangled park in Pittsburgh over either Yankee Stadium. Why? Because I hate sitting next to New York sports fans and it’s my column.
Mount Rushmore of oceans: Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean technically isn’t an ocean, but it acts like an ocean and is the cradle of all civilization. P.S.: My apologies to the Atlantic Ocean. It just ain’t what it used to be.
Mount Rushmore of fast-food burgers: Fat Burger, Five Guys, Shake Shack, Umami Burger. The late, great sports columnist Bud Furillo, a good friend of mine, swore by the quarter-pounder with cheese from McDonald’s, one of the few areas in life in which we diverged.
Mount Rushmore of sitcoms: ‘‘The Honeymooners,’’ ‘‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show,’’ ‘‘All in the Family,’’ ‘‘Seinfeld.’’ Heck, I just left off 29 of my favorite sitcoms here, so I plan to spend many sleepless nights watching them.
Mount Rushmore of mountain ranges: Himalayas, Swiss Alps, Andes, Blue Ridge. Yes, the Blue Ridge. Ah, I can smell the oak-hickory forest from here, and Skyline Drive is a better ride than the Daytona 500. Note: If I were in a comedy mood, the Catskills make this list.
Mount Rushmore of beer: Newcastle Ale, Yuengling, Rolling Rock (pre-Anheuser Busch ownership), PBR in a can. Pabst won its blue ribbon in 1893 and has gotten a little better every year since.
Mount Rushmore of sports owners: Branch Rickey, Bill Veeck, Art Rooney, Jerry Buss. A contemporary anti-Mount Rushmore would be Daniel Snyder, Donald Sterling, James Dolan and Jeffrey Loria.
Mount Rushmore of movies: ‘‘His Girl Friday,’’ ‘‘Citizen Kane,’’ ‘‘Casablanca,’’ ‘‘Godfather Part II.’’ You expected ‘‘Caddyshack’’ to get the nod?
Mount Rushmore of theme parks: Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland California Adventure, Disneyland Paris. I work for ESPN, folks.
Mount Rushmore of late-night TV hosts: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jon Stewart. What, you thought I was going to chisel Jimmy Kimmel’s mug up there?
Mount Rushmore of cuisine: Chinese, French, Italian. These are the three foundations of all fine food. There is no room for a fourth entry on this monument.
Mount Rushmore itself: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt. Yes, Teddy Roosevelt. I might’ve guessed FDR — he put up big numbers for a long, long time — but construction on Mount Rushmore started five years before his presidency began.