Who’s The Fourth?

I concede that this may not be the most original question in the world. This argument has probably been slobbered about in hundreds of bars and I bet if I Googled it, I’d find at least a dozen blog articles on this very topic. Regardless, the thought popped into my head – God knows why – and I can’t get it out.
If there were a Mt. Rushmore for sports figures, who would the four heads be?
Right off the bat, I came up with three no-brainers. It would have to include Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. All were arguably the best ever in their sports (well, maybe not Ali) and all three were larger than life. Iconic. That’s what you need to be to have your face carved 60-feet high in granite – iconic. Simply being great isn’t enough.
So who would be the fourth? Wayne Gretzky is one idea, but Mt. Rushmore is American and Gretzky, despite his years playing in the states, is a Canadian who played a Canadian sport. Who else? An all-time-great like Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Jack Nicklaus or Bill Russell? Or an athlete who left his (or her) mark in other ways like Jackie Robinson, Arthur Ashe, Najeh Davenport or Jesse Owens? What about someone who excelled in multiple sports like Jim Thorpe or Babe Didrikson? Would we need to include a football player and who would that be in a sport where individuals are rarely recognizable? Jim Brown? Joe Montana?
I honestly don’t know who the best choice would be. If I had to make the call right now, I’d probably go with Tiger Woods for the fourth spot. His accomplishments may not qualify him just yet, but in my lifetime the only other athlete who’s been as dominant was Michael Jordan. And Woods is still going strong.
So who would you pick? Who are your four? And no, you can’t pick a damn horse.

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