A few years ago, we published our Mount Rushmore of active Arizona athletes, a list of the state’s top four professional sports stars based on their impact on sports in the state and the longevity of their careers in Arizona.
The Coyotes’ Shane Doan, the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and the Diamondbacks’ Paul Goldschmidt were the original members of the list.
With Shane Doan’s retirement last year, the Suns’ Devin Booker was placed on the monument in his place.
After Paul Goldschmidt’s trade to the St. Louis Cardinals in the offseason, another replacement is long overdue.
Who could succeed him on the Arizona sports’ Mount Rushmore and take his or her place beside Booker, Fitzgerald and Taurasi?
We’ve come up with some candidates based on their time playing in Arizona and the impact they have had in their sports (in alphabetical order):
Bonner is one of the longest tenured pro athletes in Arizona and was recently named to the WNBA All-Star team as a reserve. She has formed the core of the Mercury’s success, along with Taurasi and Brittney Griner.
Ekman-Larsson recently signed a very long extension to remain with the Coyotes and he’s been with the team since 2010. Could he end up playing his entire career with the franchise, like Doan?
Since signing with the Diamondbacks, Greinke has consistently shined for Arizona, racking up All-Star appearances and impressive numbers. Could he become the second Diamondback in the Hall of Fame? He’d need to stay in Arizona longer to do so.
A dominating presence in the WNBA, Griner should be a force for the Mercury for years to come. She continues to rack up WNBA All-Star appearances and is one of the most recognizable players in the game.
Johnson had one huge season for the Cardinals and could flourish under new coach Kliff Kingsbury. Can he return to his elite level of play? That could help him earn a spot on the Mount Rushmore and endear him to fans even more.
The former Arizona State golfer’s impact on golf and the state of Arizona has been tremendous. Yes, he doesn’t live in Arizona, but the former Scottsdale resident has become synonymous with Arizona golf.
Peterson’s play on the field speaks for itself. Eight seasons, eight Pro Bowls. Do his actions off the field hurt his chances? He will miss the first six games of the season with a suspension and he infamously requested a trade from the Cardinals last season.
Note: There is no denying the impact of Chandler Jones, Ketel Marte and several other current athletes on professional sports teams in Arizona, but they were not selected as possibilities based on their overall lack of time in Arizona. Should they continue playing at a high level in Arizona, they would definitely earn future consideration for this list.