Ever since LeBron James sat down with NBATV where he said he would be among the Top 4 greatest NBA players of all time, everyone’s been throwing out their own Mount Rushmores. Well we are no different and we came up with our Mount Rushmore of Indiana sports.
Being born or raised in Indiana was basically a necessity, which made it hard coming up with anyone who didn’t play basketball. Indiana is the basketball capital of the world, so finding someone who excelled in football, baseball or any other sports was tough, but we made it happen.
So without further ado, here is our Mount Rushmore of Indiana Sports.
When you think of success in sports, the one person that should instantly come to mind is John Wooden. Born in Martinsville, Ind., Wooden became a three-time All-American with the Purdue Boilermakers and led them to a national title in 1932. He went on to become the head coach of the UCLA Bruins, leading them to 10 NCAA National Championships, including seven straight. When it comes to Indiana sport icons, Wooden ranks No. 1, with no one even close behind.
Born in French Lick, Ind., Larry Bird became an Indiana basketball star when he led the Indiana State Sycamores to the 1979 NCAA Championship game where they would lose the ironly game of the season to the Michigan State Spartans and Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Bird went on to play 13 years in the NBA, won three straight NBA regular season MVPs (1984, 1985, 1986), two NBA Finals MVPs (1984, 1986) and three NBA Championships (1981, 1984, 1986). While Bird never won a championship in or for the state of Indiana, he’s by far the greatest athlete to call Indiana his home.
Raised in Indianapolis, Ind., Oscar Robertson carried Crispus Attucks High School to a 33-1 record in 1955 to become the first all-black school in the nation to win a state championship. In 1956, his senior year, he lead Crispus Attucks to a 31-0 record and their second straight state championship. Robertson didn’t even make it to the National Championship game while attending the University of Cincinnati. In the NBA, Robertson became the only player to average a triple-double during a season, won the NBA regular season MVP in 1964 and topped it off with a championship in 1971.
Born in Evansville, Ind., Bob Griese is the only non-basketball star to make it on Mount Rushmore. Griese led Purdue to their first Rose Bowl victory in 1966, beating the USC Trojans 14-13. His fame grew once he moved on to the NFL where he became the fourth-overall pick in the 1967 Common Draft. Griese became a six-time Pro Bowler, two-time MVP winner and two-time Super Bowl winner. He helped lead the Miami Dolphins to a perfect record in 1972, still the only team to do so.