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Eight Greatest Lakers Of All Time

When it comes to all time players, the Los Angeles Lakers have undoubtedly the most in NBA history. Each player that is placed on this list has gone on to change the game one way or another. The standard to make it on this list is a bar that very few have reached and will ever reach. Just as the late Kobe Bryant said:

“It takes a special person to want to play for this franchise, and take the pressure that comes along with playing for this franchise. The pressure of following Magic’s footsteps, myself and the dynasty that we’ve had, it takes a special person to do that.”  

And with that being said let’s dive on in.

Honorable mentions:

LeBron James

NBA Finals: LeBron James Matters | Sports News,The Indian Express

In his short stint with the Lakers, LeBron James has brought in a championship to the franchise as well as nearly winning an MVP. However, just because his name is LeBron James and he is arguably the best player to ever play, that doesn’t cut it. As many have learned, receiving love from fans in LA is a difficult thing to do. Especially for someone like LeBron who many did not like for the reason that they were team Kobe. 

In year one with LA, James was able to take a young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma to as far as the third seed before succumbing to a groin injury which forced him to miss a majority of the season. In year two, after trading away Ball, Ingram, and Josh Hart for Anthony Davis, the duo was able to win a title after a year filled with Kobe’s death, racial injustice, and Covid-19.  James looked in peak form in year three before a terrible ankle sprain occurred. James did not look the same after returning from the injury and the team was bounced in the first round to the Phoenix Suns. 

Can James make this list? Personally I don’t think so, but if he were to win another title or two as the number one option there is no reason to keep him off. 

  • 1x NBA Champion (2020)
  • 3x All Star (2019-2021)
  • All-NBA First Team (2020)
  • All-NBA Second Team (2021)
  • All NBA Third Team (2019)

Pau Gasol

Lakers: How Pau Gasol ditched the 'soft' label in 2010 - Silver Screen and Roll

Pau Gasol in his own right is a Lakers legend. In his years with the Lakers, Gasol won two championships (2009-2010), three time All-Star and a member on three All-NBA teams. Just stats alone would put him on any other team’s Mount Rushmore. However, these are the Lakers we’re talking about, it’s a high bar to reach. 

Why Gasol makes this list is simply a result of Kobe Bryant. In fact both, players needed each other when their careers crossed paths. Gasol was the guy for the Memphis Grizzlies but never amassed anything big. Kobe was the solo act that needed a partner to help win championships post the Shaq-era. Not to mention that Gasol’s heroics in Game Seven of the 2010 Finals is an all time performance when Bryant struggled to get his offense going. Gasol’s jersey eventually will hang alongside his former teammate Kobe Bryant. 

  • 2× NBA champion (2009, 2010)
  • 3× NBA All-Star (2009–2011)
  • 1× All-NBA Second Team (2011)
  • 2× All-NBA Third Team (2009, 2010)

George Mikan

George Mikan (AMAZING BASKETBALL NBA DOCUMENTARY) [HD] - YouTube

Dubbed the NBA’s first superstar, George Mikan was a tough assignment for anyone in his day. Standing at 6’10 245 lbs, Mikan was a paint beast who scored at will. In Mikan’s first three years in the league, he averaged 28 points and 14.1 rebounds a game. Mikan’s accolades speak for themself. Should he have played for another team, he could arguably be regarded as that franchise’s greatest player. 

  • BAA/NBA champion (1949, 1950, 19521954)
  • NBL champion (1947, 1948)
  • NBL Most Valuable Player (1948)
  • NBA All-Star (19511954)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1953)
  • All-BAA/NBA First Team (1949–1954)
  • All-NBL First Team (1947, 1948)
  • NBL scoring champion (1948)
  • NBA scoring champion (1949–1951)
  • NBA rebounding leader (1953)

Gail Goodrich

Basketball HOF on Twitter: "RT to wish #HOFer Gail Goodrich a Happy Birthday. 🎈 #HOFBDays 📸: Via Getty Images… "

Gail Goodrich played alongside three of the greatest players in NBA history in Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, and Wilt Chamberlain. In his early years with the Lakers, Goodrich did not receive much playing time, averaging 21.9 minutes a game. In that time he put up 11.6 points a game. It wasn’t until his second stint with the Lakers where he blossomed into the player that we know and love today. In his final six seasons with the Lakers, Goodrich had a much larger role. With the bigger role now, he made four All-Star teams averaging 22.5 points a game on 36.3 minutes. 

However, Goodrich is loved by Lakers fans for being the reason why Magic Johnson became a Laker. The Lakers received three first-round picks for their one and it really worked out as the then-New Orleans Jazz were the worst team in the NBA in the 1978-79 season. The Lakers had the draft rights to the pick, won the first overall pick coinflip with the Chicago Bulls and drafted Magic Johnson.

  • NBA champion (1972)
  • NBA All-Star (19721975)
  • All-NBA First Team (1974)
  • No. 25 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. James Worthy  

Legends profile: James Worthy | NBA.com

James Worthy left his mark during the Showtime Lakers run. Worthy became the first player to ever be drafted number one overall to the team that won the title the prior year. Earning himself the nickname “Big Game James”, James Worthy is remembered for his greatest performance in Game Seven against the Detroit Pistons. In that game, Worthy put up 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to solidify the Lakers second consecutive championship. This was a feat that hadn’t happened in the 19 years prior. 

  • NBA champion (1985, 1987, 1988)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1988)
  • NBA All-Star (19861992)
  • All-NBA Third Team (1990, 1991)
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (1983)
  • NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • No. 42 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Wilt Chamberlain

You Tube Gold: Even In His 30's, Wilt Chamberlain Was A Fearsome Opponent - Duke Basketball Report

Arguably the most dominant big man to ever play the game, Wilt’s stats speak for themselves. However, when Wilt joined the Lakers he was already on the tail end of his career. Joining the team at 31, Wilt played his final five seasons with the purple and gold. In those five seasons, Wilt helped bring in one championship and averaged 17.7 points and 19.2 rebounds per game as well as being named an All-Star four times. The reason why Wilt is not placed higher on this list is due to lack of more titles as well as longevity. 

  • NBA champion (1972)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1972)
  • NBA All-Star (1969, 19711973)
  • All-NBA Second Team ( 1972)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (1972, 1973)
  • 11× NBA rebounding champion ( 1968–1969, 1971–1973)
  • NBA assist leader (1968)
  • 35th Anniversary NBA Team
  •  50th Anniversary NBA Team
  • No. 13 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Elgin Baylor

The Statue-Worthy Legacy of Elgin Baylor | Los Angeles Lakers

To put this one into simple terms, if there was no Elgin Baylor there would be no Julius Erving. Without Julius Erving there would be no Michael Jordan. And with no Michael Jordan, there would be no Kobe Bryant. Do you see where I’m going with this one? 

Baylor was the Michael Jordan of the league before Michael Jordan even touched a basketball. Being blessed with freakish athletic ability, Baylor spent his entire career with the Lakers. Although Baylor never won a championship, he was a spectacle to see with his aerial attack. In his 14 years with the Lakers, Baylor put up 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds a game. To this day he has the highest point average per game in team history. 

  • 11× NBA All-Star (19591965, 19671970)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1959)
  • 10× All-NBA First Team (19591965, 19671969)
  • NBA Rookie of the Year (1959)
  •  35th Anniversary NBA Team
  •  50th Anniversary NBA All-Time Team
  • No. 22 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Jerry West 

Jerry West On LeBron James and Lakers Legacy - Sports Illustrated

The logo himself is an iconic figure in both the league and Lakers history. Jerry West the player was a player way ahead of time. He had the ability to not only dribble the ball but also shoot the ball at a high rate. In today’s NBA, West would be compared to the likes of Stephen Curry with both his scoring and playmaking ability. Although he isn’t quite the same shooter as Steph is, West was among the elite in his era. Just as his teammate of Elgin Baylor, he spent his entire career with the purple and gold.

  • NBA champion (1972)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1969)
  • 14× NBA All-Star (19611974)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1972)
  • 10× All-NBA First Team (19621967, 19701973)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1968, 1969)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (1970–1973)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1969)
  • NBA scoring champion (1970)
  • NBA assists leader (1972)
  •  35th Anniversary NBA Team
  •  50th Anniversary NBA Team
  • No. 44 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers, Hollywood were seemingly meant to be – Orange County Register

Easily the most dominant force in NBA history since Wilt, Shaq was in a league of his own. At a staggering 7 foot 1 and 330 lbs, there was no way to guard Shaq. In addition to his incredible stature, Shaq was very athletic for his. With the ability to run the floor gracefully there was no answer for The Diesel. 

During his times with Los Angeles, he was the man on the Lakers. In his 7 seasons with the Lakers, Shaq was the focal point of the triangle offense bringing in three straight championships and winning three straight Finals MVPs. Shaq also has an MVP to his name and multiple All-NBA and All-Star appearances. The only problem with Shaq was his mindset and attitude. If only he had taken the game seriously and worked on his body and prepared mentally to that of a Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, he’d be the GOAT. 

  • NBA champion (20002002)
  • NBA Finals MVP (20002002)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2000)
  • NBA All-Star (1997–1998, 20002004)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (2000, 2004)
  • All-NBA First Team (1998, 20002004)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1999)
  • All-NBA Third Team (1997)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2000, 2001, 2003)
  • NBA scoring champion ( 2000)
  •  50th Anniversary NBA Team
  • No. 34 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Lakers Profile: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the most under-appreciated GOAT - Silver Screen and Roll

Arguably the greatest player of all time, the resume speaks for itself. In his 14 seasons with the purple and gold, Kareem averaged 22 points and 9 rebounds a game. Cap is notoriously known for his emphatic and unstoppable hook shot which helped him win five titles in LA alongside Magic Johnson. Abdul-Jabbar is the third highest scorer in team history and the highest scorer in NBA history. 

  • NBA champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1985)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (1976, 1977, 1980)
  • 13× NBA All-Star (1976–1977, 19791989)
  • All-NBA First Team (1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1978, 1979, 1983, 1985)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (19791981)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (19761978, 1984)
  • NBA rebounding champion (1976)
  • NBA blocks leader (1976, 1979, 1980)
  • NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • No. 33 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson And Michael Jordan Shared Incredible Moment In 'The Last Dance' - Sports Illustrated LA Lakers News, Analysis and More

Earvin “Magic” Johnson is the second greatest Laker of all time. To most he is the greatest, but that depends on who you’re talking to. On this list he’s number two for the fact that it felt like he had more to give before retiring in 1992 due to HIV. Nonetheless in his 13 year career Magic brought five titles to Los Angeles. 

Johnson is labeled as the greatest point guard of all time for his vision and ability to see a play happen before anyone else does. In addition Magic has some of the most iconic moments in Lakers history such as being the only rookie to ever win Finals MVP after playing center for an injured Kareem and winning the title. The junior sky hook against the Boston Celtics is his most iconic moment in the league as he and Bird battled for supremacy of the league. He holds the franchise record for total assists and assists per game and is fifth in points scored.

  • NBA champion (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1980, 1982, 1987)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (1987, 1989, 1990)
  • 12× NBA All-Star (1980, 19821992)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (1990, 1992)
  • All-NBA First Team (19831991)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1982)
  • NBA All-Rookie Team (1980)
  • NBA assists leader (1983, 1984, 1986, 1987)
  • NBA steals leader (1981, 1982)
  • NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
  • No. 32 retired by Los Angeles Lakers
  1. Kobe Bryant

LA Lakers Stars Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant After NBA Title Win

The Black Mamba is without a doubt the greatest Laker of all time. The reason for this is that Bryant stayed his entire 20-year career with the purple and gold. This is a feat that he alone holds. In those 20 years, Kobe gave his all every time he stepped out on the floor to put on a performance for fans. His killer mentality and nonstop resilience made him the player fans fell in love with. Although he may not have the MVP awards to his name like other All-Time greats, he pushed himself to the very end to achieve excellence.

What made Kobe Bryant the greatest player on this list was his work ethic and attention to detail. The countless hours in the gym and sacrifices that he made in order to be great. Although there were players much more talented than him on this list, it was his desire to be great that made him great. With fans that is a trait that they can resonate with him especially when it comes to chasing a dream to be the best.

By the time Bryant called it quits, he held the Lakers record for most field goals, three pointers, points games, minutes played, steals and free throws. Other Laker legends such as Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and  Magic Johnson have acknowledged the Black Mamba as the greatest Los Angeles Laker of all time.

  • NBA champion (20002002, 2009, 2010)
  • NBA Finals MVP (2009, 2010)
  • NBA Most Valuable Player (2008)
  • 18× NBA All-Star (1998, 20002016)
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011)
  • 11× All-NBA First Team (20022004, 20062013)
  • All-NBA Second Team (2000, 2001)
  • All-NBA Third Team (1999, 2005)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (2000, 2003, 2004, 20062011)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2001, 2002, 2012)
  • NBA scoring champion (2006, 2007)
  • NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion (1997)
  • NBA All-Rookie Second Team (1997)
  • Nos. 8 & 24 retired by Los Angeles Lakers

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