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: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.
"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."
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)