Did the mayor get Seattle’s Mount Rushmore of athletes right? 

Aug 15, 2022, 4:43 PM
Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm dribbles the ball against the Minnesota Lynx in the third quarter of the game at Target Center on August 12, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Storm defeated the Lynx 96-69. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell was put on-the-spot by the Gee and Ursula Show to identify the ‘Mount Rushmore’ of Seattle sports, and made some controversial choices in the process.

Gee asked the mayor recently if he was flying into SeaTac Airport and had the opportunity to witness the top four Seattle sports icons of all-time, who would he choose?

“The obvious ones, and you said icons, are Sue Bird and Lenny Wilkens. They have to be on that list,” Harrell said, with Gee emphatically agreeing.

Sue Bird plays final regular season home game with Storm

Bird played her entire 21-year career for the team that drafted her No. 1 overall in 2002, the Seattle Storm. The future WNBA Hall of Famer won four championships with the Storm, was a 13-time All-Star and eight-time All-WNBA (five first-team selections), and led the league in assists three times.

Wilkens represented Seattle for just three of his nine career All-Star trips as a player, but he also became the head coach for the Sonics while averaging 20 points, nine assists, and five rebounds during his four-year tenure in the Emerald City.

Wilkens would later return to Seattle as exclusively the head coach once his playing days were over, eventually leading the Sonics to its first and only title in 1979. He would go on to coach the most games of all time by an individual, finishing third in all-time wins.

“Don James completely changed the face of Husky football and brought national fame and recognition to the talent we have, so Don James is on that list,” Harrell said.

James was the head coach at Kent State University from 1971 to 1974 and at the University of Washington from 1975 to 1992, compiling a career college football record of 178-76-3 (.698), tied for 35th all-time in collegiate head coaching wins.

He authored Washington’s 12-0 1991 season, leading the Huskies to one of the 11 split national championships alongside Miami (12-0) that season.

His last vote for the wall of Seattle greats? Edgar Martinez.

“Oh my goodness. Nightmare. Now, this is where it’s a problem you and I have,” Gee said in response. “How do you put Edgar over Ken Griffey, Jr.?”

Martinez played his entire 18-year career with the Mariners, awarded with seven All-Star nods, five Silver Slugger Awards, and 2004’s Roberto Clemente Award.

Martinez’ signature play, “The Double” in Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS, has been coined as a significant reason the Mariners franchise never relocated. After nearly two decades worth of sub-.500 baseball, the 1995 season paved the way for a new taxpayer-funded stadium.

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The two-time AL batting champion had a Hall of Fame career in Seattle (inducted into Cooperstown in 2019), but Gee scoffed at the idea Martinez would be on Seattle’s Mount Rushmore over “The Kid.”

“I knew you were going to put Ken Griffey on yours,” Harrell said in defense of his selection. “I’m trying to spread the love a little bit, and I had dinner with Edgar a couple of weeks ago, so he’s on my list. That’s my story.”

Ken Griffey Jr. received 437 votes out of 440 (99.3%) to make the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, the third-highest percentage in league history (trailing Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter). His 630 career home runs — 7th all-time — led to him becoming a 13-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, a 7-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and the AL MVP in 1997.

Griffey Jr.’s swing of the bat is nearly unanimously known as the greatest swing in the history of America’s pastime.

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Not included in the discussion: Russell Wilson, Gary Payton, Ichiro Suzuki, Steve Emtman, Steve Largent, Clint Dempsey, and Breanna Stewart.

Who would be on yours?

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Did the mayor get Seattle’s Mount Rushmore of athletes right?