Five Greatest Los Angeles Lakers Of All Time

Picking five players who were head and shoulders above everyone else who represented the Los Angeles Lakers is a challenging task. One of the most impressive and storied franchises in the sport’s history, the LA Lakers have the most NBA Championships in the league’s modern history.

Even if they are not presently one of the top teams in the NBA odds to win the Championship, they are still a great team historically. The Lakers often go all the way in the playoffs, competing in Conference Championship games and eventually the NBA Finals. Out of the many titles the team has won in its history, a select group of players stood out. These athletes went above and beyond for the Lakers, performing remarkably well every season to drive the team to success. Below is our in-depth take on the top five Los Angeles Lakers players of all time.

1. Kobe Bryant

The greatest basketball player to ever put on the Los Angeles Lakers uniform is Kobe Bryant. A legend of the sport, who sadly passed away in the prime of his life, Bryant thrilled fans at the Staples Center for many years. He was known for his brilliant dribbling, ability to get to the basket, and stupendous shooting in crunch moments.

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Kobe could often have games where he struggled in patches, as his shots would not land how he wanted. But fans knew that when the game was on the line, he would often pop up with the game-winning shot.

Bryant won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the second star behind Shaquille O’Neal for the first three, but he was the focal point of the team for two more rings in 2009 and 2010.

2. Magic Johnson

He was one of those players that you could not help but admire when you watched him on the court. Magic Johnson may not have enjoyed great success as a general manager with the Lakers, but he was one of the best players to ever put on the team’s jersey.

Johnson was a fast and aggressive point guard known for his unselfish play and “pass first” philosophy. Others, such as Steve Nash, eventually played in the same way as Johnson, but he was one of the very first point guards who made it his mission to get as many assists as possible.

A winner of many NBA titles, Johnson is a Hall of Famer who made the city of Los Angeles proud during his time as a Laker.

3. LeBron James

If pundits were to put together a list of the best NBA players of all time, LeBron James would be either in the first or second position. Fans may then wonder, why is he in third position on this list? When discussing a player’s career for this category, we assessed their time as a Los Angeles Laker. While LeBron does have a solitary NBA Championship with the Lakers, he has only led the Purple and Gold to one ring. The others on this list have won far more championships with the team.

LeBron spent his best years in Cleveland, Miami and then Cleveland again. In some ways, his time in LA has been the swansong of his career. He still managed to get a ring, but most of his time in LA has involved him struggling to stay healthy and the team barely making the playoffs.

4. Shaquille O’Neal

An absolute legend of the NBA and one of the best players to grace the sport, Shaquille O’Neal is a bona fide Lakers legend. Even though he did leave the team with some bad blood between himself and fellow superstar Kobe Bryant, fans do not remember Shaq on those terms.

They remember one of the most dominant big men to ever play the sport. Shaq was a powerhouse of a center, unstoppable by anyone in the NBA at the time. His dominance in that position was such that teams would only have one solution to make him scoreless – foul him so he would shoot free throws. O’Neal was MVP during three NBA Finals runs for the Lakers, which is unsurprising as he often reserved his best games for the biggest occasions.

5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

A list with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the fifth position shows that the Los Angeles Lakers have been blessed with enormous talent throughout their history. As a franchise, they have lured some of the best athletes ever to grace a basketball court.

Abdul-Jabbar is an absolute superstar of the sport and was the scoring leader in the NBA for many years. It was only until this year that LeBron James, another Laker, went ahead of Abdul-Jabbar in the overall scoring standings. LeBron has longevity that not even Abdul-Jabbar could manage, but the latter did have better “per game” scoring stats throughout his career.