The Mount Rushmore of the NBA

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Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan en sus primeros días en la NBA.GETTY IMAGES
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The NBA has become one of the most popular sports in the world and this is a sport that is dominated by the players. If you are someone that follows along with sports news then you will see some of the legends of the NBA being featured often. 

Putting together a list of the best players in NBA history is no easy task, and that same thing applies when thinking about the most influential. There is a long list of players to consider, but only four men can be on NBA’s Mount Rushmore. 

This is not a list of the four best NBA players of all time, but rather four of the most important players in league history. It’s simply hard to look back at the history of the NBA and not think about these four legends. 

Michael Jordan 

When it comes to the Mount Rushmore of the NBA, there is one player that should be featured front and center. Michael Jordan is not only the greatest player in NBA history, but he is also the most popular player in league history.

The fame and popularity of “Air Jordan” weren’t limited to the United States either, as he helped to grow the game of basketball worldwide. Jordan won six NBA championships with the Bulls and set a number of records along the way. 

Even though Jordan has been out of the NBA for nearly 20 years, his name and his legacy is still discussed daily by NBA fans. 

Magic Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Johnson is credited with helping to turn the NBA into one of the most popular sports in the United States. Magic Johnson led the “Showtime” Lakers to a handful of championships in the 1980s and that team did it in a way that had never been done before. 

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Johnson was also a cultural icon during his playing career, and he was a key feature in the AIDS pandemic as well. The Lakers star helped bring attention to that disease and used his own diagnosis as a way to raise awareness and money. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

There is often a big debate about whether Abdul-Jabbar or Wilt Chamberlain is the best center of all-time. Chamberlain holds the record with a 100-point game, but Jabbar was a much better overall player. 

Jabbar would be the oldest player to be recognized on the Mount Rushmore of NBA legends, but his place is hard to debate. Even though the center position looks much different in today’s game, watching Jabbar dominate the paint was a joy during his playing career. 

Larry Bird

Larry Bird might not crack the top-10 in terms of best players in league history, but there is no doubt that he would be in the conversation. Bird was one of the most popular players ever during his time in the NBA and his rivalry with Magic Johnson helped make the league more popular. 

Bird revolutionized the forward position and he also made the three-point shot more common. The fact that Bird was a small town kid from French Lick, Indiana that thrived in Boston only added to his remarkable story. 

Honorable Mention

As mentioned above, picking just four NBA players to put on Mount Rushmore isn’t easy, but those are the rules. You could compile a long list of players that just missed the cut, but there are four names that really stand out. 

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LeBron James is the easiest choice to include as an honorable mention, but he hasn’t even wrapped up his career yet. James might go down as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA, and he is often mentioned as one of the best players in league history. 

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal could also be considered for this honor, and the pair were actually teammates at one point. Bryant is one of the most competitive players in league history and O’Neal is the most dominant player in league history.

The final player that has to be discussed is Celtics legend Bill Russell. Russell is one of the most decorated players in NBA history, and dominated the league for more than a decade. 

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