Who is on each state’s sports Mount Rushmore?
There is perhaps no United States landmark more famous than Mount Rushmore. It was built to honor four of the country’s greatest presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
Rushmore was designed to honor political greatness, but many people have created their own Rushmores focusing on different areas. There is a Rushmore of baseball, of football, of pretty much anything else you can think of. But if each state had a Rushmore of sports to show off its four most prominent and influential sports figures, what would they look like?
For some states, it’s easy. California, New York and Massachusetts have all had their fair share of stars. Maryland has a remarkably strong pool to choose from as well. For others, it’s harder. But that doesn’t diminish the achievements of the sports people who do qualify as their state’s very best, and each state has plenty of athletes to celebrate.
First, some ground rules: (1) unless an athlete has significant ties to more than one state, they can only be on one state’s Rushmore, (2) anyone who participated in a sport or played a significant role in the development of a sport is eligible and (3) anyone who spent more than a year in a state is eligible for that state. Candidates will be judged both on their achievements and how well known they are within their states.
Which state has the best Mount Rushmore? That’s an entirely different debate, perhaps one that can be had after each state’s Rushmore is created. So, without further ado, here is the Mount Rushmore of sports for each of the 50 states.
Florida’s Mount Rushmore starts with arguably the most polarizing athlete of all time: Tim Tebow. While Tebow has had minimal NFL success, he’s on Florida’s Rushmore because of what he did with the Florida Gators. Perhaps no college football player accomplished as much as Tebow, who is still a legend in the Sunshine state. Tebow led the Gators to two national titles and won the Heisman Trophy in 2007.
Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He set most of the NFL’s passing records and was one of the NFL’s premier quarterbacks for at least a decade. Marino is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
No Florida athlete is as beloved as Dwyane Wade. Wade defined the Miami Heat and helped them win three NBA titles. He constantly took less money than he was entitled to to help the team and is probably the best player the Heat have ever had. Wade is the Heat’s career leader in points.
Don Shula is the most successful coach in NFL history. He led the Dolphins to their famous undefeated season. Shula, along with Marino, made the Dolphins one of the NFL’s most successful teams during the 1980’s and 1990’s.