Rick Reilly Explains The Reasoning Behind ESPN's "Mount Rushmore"

Friday, February 20, 2009


If it wasn't for ESPN's graphics department, I would completely despise this whole Mt. Rushmore thing. Being completely annoying aside, and having Rick Reilly as your host, the actual photoshopped Mt. Rushmore's for each state look pretty cool. Take California's (above) for example. First, they got all four athletes correct, which is a must. Second, the ESPN graphics department put everyone in the right spot. And third, Rick is transposed as a tourist with binoculars to analyze each figure. Pretty spot on if you ask me.

That, however, does not mean this is yet another idiotic way for ESPN to kill time, and that's exactly what Reilly told Neil Best at Newsday....

Rick Reilly had heard I'd been making fun of ESPN SportsCenter's "Mt. Rushmore of Sports" feature, and was ready with an explanation:

"It's February!" he said. "Nothing happens."

What about A-Rod? "How were we supposed to know that?" he said.

Fair enough. So there Reilly was this week, revealing the five finalists - New York first - of states with the most impressive foursomes who grew up there or played there or ... oh, whatever.

Reilly said he once wrote a column imagining Mount Rushmores for categories such as golfers, wives, fans, caddies, writers, etc.

"So when they said, 'Hey, would you have any interest in this idea?' I was like, 'I love it.' Besides, I'm trying to learn the TV business, so I need a lot of reps."

Indeed, eight months after joining ESPN for what he called "ridonkulous" money, he still comes off better in written form than on television.

"I know I'm not Bob Costas," he said, "but I think if you can get past the big nose and nasally voice, I'm trying to bring interesting sentences, good writing, clear and maybe unusual opinions to television."
I guess that's as fair as a description of Reilly's work at ESPN that you're going to get. Plus the fact that it came from Reilly himself, actually makes it kind of funny. I'm certainly not approving of Mt. Rushmore, or the insistence on throwing in Reilly, but I can sort of understand it.

In case you care, your five finalists are Illinois (Jordan, Ditka, Ernie Banks, Walter Payton), Alabama (Bear Bryant, Bo Jackson, W. Mays, Hank Aaron), California (Tiger Woods, John Wooden, Magic Johnson, Jackie Robinson) New York (Nammath, Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown) and Pennsylvania (Roberto Clemente, Joe Paterno, Wilt Chamberlain, Mario Lemieux).

Oh and I definitely blame the inclusion of Michael Phelps for bumping my home state out of the Finals. Seriously Phelps over Sugar Ray Leonard, Len Bias, Babe Ruth (was born there), and Bill Belichick?!?! Okay, you're right....Maryland sucks.

'Mt. Rushmore' faces finalists (Newsday)

Posted by Awful Announcing at 11:47 AM

7 Comments:

Nice binoculars, jerk.

GMoney said...
Feb 20, 2009, 12:12:00 PM  

simmons has been doin this in his columns for years

anon said...
Feb 20, 2009, 2:45:00 PM  

anon, Simmons told Brian Kenny the other night that Reilly first did this 9 years ago at SI.

GMoney said...
Feb 20, 2009, 4:12:00 PM  

You're seriously putting Len Bias on there over Michael Phelps? Juan Dixon or Lonny Baxter deserve it more than Bias.

Mets Tailgate said...
Feb 20, 2009, 8:28:00 PM  

Yeah, I'm from Maryland and I don't have a problem with Phelps being on there. That said, Babe Ruth has to be on there. I guess that means I'd take out Brooks Robinson. Oh, man why am I even thinking about this shit? Thanks, ESPN. Thanks a lot.

Slade354 said...
Feb 20, 2009, 8:37:00 PM  

It's kind of infectuous, and let's face it, fun, isn't it?

Nick Loucks said...
Feb 20, 2009, 9:09:00 PM  

Bill Belichick?
Michael Phelps?
The Non-Original Ray?

Maryland...I had no idea.

I'm so sorry.

Sentanta said...
Feb 21, 2009, 3:58:00 AM  

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