Stephen A Smith’s Mt. Rushmore of All-Time Greats Has Former Boston Celtics Star Floored

Stephen A Smith

ESPN's Stephen A Smith irked Cedric Maxwell with the final pick of his Mount Rushmore of all-time sports greats.

Former Boston Celtics forward Cedric Maxwell said ESPN’s Stephen A Smith was off to a good start after Maxwell asked him to rattle off his Mount Rushmore of all-time athletes in any sport. Smith was a recent guest on the Cedric Maxwell Podcast, and the two decided to take a look back in history and have some fun.

Smith began with Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali, but when he got to No. 4, Maxwell wish he’d never brought up the topic.

Stephen A Smith Explains Why Bill Russell Is on His Mount Rushmore

After Smith started with Jordan and Ali, he raised some eyebrows by putting Celtics legendary center Bill Russell on his list of top four athletes of all-time. Russell won five MVPs and 11 championships, but Smith believes there was much more to it than that. Playing in Boston during a time when there was plenty of racial tension and succeeding like he did, Russell earned the third spot on Smith’s list.

“I have to put Bill Russell there,” Smith said. “The reason I have to put Bill Russell there is not just the 11 championships, but it’s the duress under which he achieved it.

“He wasn’t only just a champion as a player, he was a champion as a player/coach. And, yo fellas, let’s call it like we see it. It was in Boston, in the ’60s. Are you kidding me? Come on, now. I don’t have to get into it, but we know. For him to achieve what he achieved, God rest his soul, there’s nothing to talk about.”

Russell was a 12-time All-Star who averaged 15.1 points and 22.5 rebounds in his career. He’s known mostly on the court for changing the game with his defense-first mentality and his shot-blocking ability.

Smith Stuns, Disappoints Maxwell With His Fourth Pick

After Smith made his first three selections, Maxwell got anxious. He was excited to hear the final piece to the puzzle.

“This is going to be good,” Maxwell interjected. “Number four is going to be good with you because you left out a lot of good people.”

Picking four all-time athletes from any sport is tough. Many great players will be left out. Smith’s final pick, however, floored Maxwell.

“I would tell you believe it or not, and I’ve never said this before, probably Earvin Magic Johnson,” Smith said as Maxwell let out a huge sigh.

“Turn the microphone off,” Maxwell yelled. “Turn that s*** off. You were doing well.”

Smith tried to redeem himself by adding Maxwell’s former teammate, Larry Bird, into the mix.

“If I could, it would be him with Bird because the same courtesy, credibility, and reverence I’m going to give to Magic belongs to Bird, too,” Smith said. “They made the NBA OK to be brought into your living room. The reason I give it to Magic is White America is White America… Being white, he was always going to be embraced at that particular moment in time, but Magic wasn’t.”

Through Smith’s explanation, Maxwell rolled his eyes. While he said he doesn’t agree with Magic being in the top four, Maxwell said he has a ton of respect for the former Los Angeles Lakers point guard and his team’s biggest rival.

“I do give Magic super respect,” Maxwell said. “I still hate him, but I give him super respect.”

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