Mt. Rushmore of Los Angeles: From Sideline to Press Box

Brian WagnerCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2009

In light of ESPN’s latest series of “The Mt. Rushmore of Sports”, I decided to create one myself.

As a young, passionate sports fan living in Los Angeles, I have been able to soak in the lives and histories of those who have left their mark on the Los Angeles sports world.

I devised this list with all icons that were either born in Los Angeles, or simply made their historic career there.

This is more of a creative Mt. Rushmore: one that will not include people who made their marks on the field, rather the sideline or the press box.


John Wooden – UCLA Basketball Head Coach

John Wooden is more than a basketball coach. He is a legend. An icon. A teacher.

And now a national monument.

Wooden is most known for his amazing coaching career at UCLA. He won 10 national championships within a 12-year span.

The “Wizard of Westwood,” as he is known around LA, transformed College Basketball at the time, and solidified UCLA as a college power.

And there is no arguing that UCLA still is a college basketball powerhouse.

John Wooden has made his mark on Los Angeles outside of basketball.

Wooden’s success has translated to other professions. He has taught seminars, wrote books, and done even more to emphasize his keys to success.

John Wooden, born 78 years before me, has made an unthinkable impact on my being. I am a much better person in so many aspects of my life because I have learned what John Wooden has taught.

He’s a Hall of Fame basketball player and coach. He’s one of the best teachers of success. You can’t ask much more than that.


Chick Hearn – LA Lakers Play-by-Play Announcer

Chick Hearn is a voice I will never forget.

When I moved out to Los Angeles 10 years ago as a young kid, my first television program I watched was a Lakers game, with the soothing voice of Chick Hearn behind the camera.

Known for one of the greatest team announcers in all of professional sports, Chick Hearn transcended NBA play-by-play with his quick style and unique catch phrases.

Some of you might not know of Chick Hearn by name, but I promise you have heard his distinct voice carry from your TV set to those ear lobes.

As one of the more entertaining play-by-play announcers of our time, he was known for nicknames of the players he watched and originating phrases that are still used today.

His most known, you ask: “Charity stripe” (Free Throw Line), “It’ll count if it goes” (Shot attempt when fouled), “Mr. Clutch” (Jerry West), “Big Fella” (Shaquille O’Neal), “Fish” (Derek Fisher)

Chick Hearn had the opportunity to follow the Lakers during some of the most exciting times with Kareem, Magic, and Worthy.

And he enjoyed it with an utmost passion.

He will forever be known for his voice, his genuine excitement for the game, and cheerful attitude.

R.I.P., Chick.


Vin Scully – LA Dodgers Play-by-Play Announcer

Like Chick, Vin Scully has made his name in the press box.

He is entering his 59th season as the Dodgers’ announcer. That is astounding!

As one of the most decorated announcers, Scully has received Emmy awards and other numerous broadcasting awards, including being named the top sportscaster of all time, by the American Sportscasters Association.

His voice rings to your ears like crashing waves on a rocky beach. It flows. It’s soothing. It works.

It’s what is right.

He has called many memorable World Series in the past 50 years, Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, Dwight Clark’s “The Catch,” and plenty of no-hitters.

Vin Scully arguably has the most distinct baseball phrase of all time, when he often excitedly says, “Got him," referring to a strikeout as the last out in the 9th inning.

As one of the greatest play-by-play announcers of all time and in any sport Vin Scully deserves his head on the Los Angeles Mt. Rushmore.


Pete Carroll – USC Football Head Coach

It can be argued that no coach has turned a team around as much as Pete Carroll has in the pat eight years with USC.

When Carroll arrived at USC, it sure is hard to believe USC was in the middle to bottom-cellar of the Pac-10 and getting only 30,000 people to fill their 90,000-capacity Coliseum.

Pete Carroll has won two national championships (while playing for another), produced three Heisman Trophy winners, and has done the following for seven straight years: won the conference championship, finished in the Top-4, and played in a BCS bowl.

These numbers are unprecedented and unmatched by anyone in the industry.

He truly is a remarkable coach.

Aside from the coaching aspect of it (which really is spectacular), Carroll has developed great community relations.

With the forming of A Better LA, Pete Carroll has developed an organization that creates a wonderful environment for everyone in some of the tough neighborhoods of Los Angeles.

He has established himself as one of the greatest coaches in college football today, and does it in a youthful and exciting way.



When looking at the possibilities for the LA Mt. Rushmore, there are numerous beyond numerous possibilities.

With one of the bigger sports markets in the country, Los Angeles produces many sports wonders, but I think I may have found the perfect four. 

Special thanks to ESPN and Al Braco for the influence. 


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