Saturday, January 31, 2009
The "Mt. Rushmore" of Louisville Sports Figures
ESPN's Sportscenter is doing a feature called "The Mt. Rushmore of Sports". Apparently, you go online and vote for the four sports figures to represent your city, state, or geographical area. I don't know what happens after that because frankly, I lost interest.

But it did get me to think about who would be on Louisville's "Sports Mt. Rushmore". I chose just the city rather than the entire state of Kentucky because I didn't want any fucking University of Kentucky basketball players on the side of my imaginary mountain.

How does a Louisville sports legend make my list? It helps to have a statue.

Representing football, I'd have to pick Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, who played at the University of Louisville. There's a statue of Johnny U in front of Papa John's Cardinal stadium, which means he'll forever be associated with terrible pizza and inept college football.

Louisville native Pee Wee Reese is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, but he's most famous for being the first member of the Brooklyn Dodgers to fully accept Jackie Robinson as a teammate. There's a statue of Pee Wee here in town, but I prefer the one in Brooklyn of him with Jackie.

Another Louisville native, Muhammad Ali, was by far the easiest choice for this list. He doesn't just have a lousy statue; he has a museum. The Ali Center is pretty cool, actually. If you're ever stuck in Louisville on business take a few hours and check it out. Don't worry, horny businessman, the strip clubs are open until 4am; there'll be plenty of time for that.

My last choice is the least-known of the group. Darrell Griffith led the University of Louisville basketball team to the 1980 National Championship. He then had a solid 11-year career with the NBA's Utah Jazz, who retired his number. I doubt few people outside of Louisville and Salt Lake City have heard of him, but he's a small 'g' god in this city. He was born here, he went to school here, and he moved back when he got rich. Also, he was the person who made it acceptable for black guys to jump over white guys. Yes, that's Darrell Griffith as a high school senior, playing an all-star game against a European team, jumping over a honkey.

You see, Louisville circa 1976 was thought of as a city where black guys shouldn't just go around jumping over white guys. Darrell Griffith and his legendary 48-inch vertical leap changed that forever. By the time I was in high school, black guys were constantly trying to jump over me. I took a few accidental shoes to the face, but it was a small price to pay so all people could be considered equal.

There isn't a statue of Griffith yet, but I'm hoping they'll put one in front of the colossal waste of resources better known as the new downtown arena, scheduled to open in November 2010. We'll have our 500 million dollar arena but not the resources to clear the roads leading to it when there's snow.


4 Comments:

Why no KY basketball players? The Cards are just 6 National championships and hundreds of wins away from Wildcat greatness. I'll check back in with you on that in the year 2500.

Anyway, I can't believe you left me off of the Mt!!! I had tons of stellar yet obscure athletic records. For instance, I lead the Male High School baseball team in win futility my senior year with an 0-6record, despite my 1.12 ERA. In college, I held a NCAA record that may still be in tact. I struck out 7 batters in one inning. That one will make ya think. Also had the lead at one point in K's per 9 innings with 15.4. I have a statue made of paper and mud next to the practice field in Salem.

Can't wait to see you in March bro!

Blogger Übermilf said...

Shouldn't there be a horse head up there somewhere?

Blogger Chris said...

I'd have to put Louisville native Hunter S Thompson in a list of people who really brought sport alive for me. Maybe not as a player but sometimes its the people who put it all into a context and historical perspective that create our favourite sporting legends.

Blogger Eason said...

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