The Los Angeles Lakers have been a storied franchise since the 1950s and 1960s. They have mostly remained a championship contender throughout their history. The Los Angeles Lakers have the second most championships (16) all-time behind the Boston Celtics and have one of the most stacked all-time teams.
Magic Johnson was one of the greatest point guards of all time, making this decision easy. He was a 12-time All Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, and a three-time league MVP. He is still the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP as a rookie. Johnson averaged 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, and 7.2 rebounds across his 13 year career in the NBA on 52 percent shooting from the field. He won five championships in total with the Lakers. Johnson was known for being the face of the “Showtime” Lakers, which played a fast-paced transition style of basketball. He also, at his 6’9;; frame, was a pioneer for tall point guards that we see in the NBA today.
Kobe Bryant is a top three shooting guard of all time. Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA selection, and a 12-time All-Defensive selection. He won five championships with the Lakers, including two Finals MVP awards. Bryant also won the 2007-2008 MVP award. One of his greatest moments was scoring 81 points in a regular-season game, the second-highest point total in a game ever. Bryant in his career averaged approximately 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. Bryant is without a doubt one of the greatest scorers in NBA history.
Elgin Baylor is an underrated small forward. He played from the late 1950s until the early 1970s. Baylor was an 11-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, and was also the rookie of the year in the 1958-59 season. Baylor posted averages of 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. While he does not have a championship ring, Baylor made eight NBA Finals appearances during his career. He was one of the original great Lakers legends.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the best scoring big man to have ever played the game. Abdul-Jabbar spent 14 of his 20 NBA seasons playing for the Lakers, posting averages of 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He won five championships with the Lakers during his time there including a Finals MVP award. As a Laker, he made 13 All-Star appearances, won three MVPs, and averaged four blocks per game during two seasons. Abdul-Jabbar had his famous skyhook shot that was unstoppable during his era.
Shaquille O’Neal is the most physically dominant center to ever play the game. O’Neal played eight seasons for the Lakers, averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He won three straight championships from 2000-02 and won the Finals MVP for each of those titles. He was the 1999-00 NBA MVP as a Laker, missing the first-ever unanimous MVP status by one vote. O’Neal was 1st team All-NBA six out of the eight years he spent in LA. His greatest game came on his 28th birthday against the Los Angeles Clippers, where he scored 61 points and grabbed 23 rebounds.
One of the original great Lakers, Jerry West is the logo of the NBA for a reason. He was a 14-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA, and a five-time All-Defensive Team representative. West is the only player to win Finals MVP when his team did not win the championship that year. Like Baylor, West’s 1-8 finals record would be a lot better if not for the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s. He put up career averages of 27 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds per game on great efficiency.
An underrated player throughout his career, Gail Goodrich was a great player in his day. He was a five-time All-Star, with four of those selections coming on the Lakers. As a Laker, he averaged 19 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. His only championship was on the 1972 Lakers team. Goodrich was a 1973-74 All-NBA member. The lefty was known for complementing Jerry West and making one of the great backcourts of the early NBA.
James Worthy was one of the key players during the Showtime Era of the Lakers. Worthy was a seven-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA, and a three-time Champion. He was also the 1988 Finals MVP. Worthy posted averages of 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game on 52 percent shooting. He played 12 seasons in the NBA, all for the purple and gold. Worthy was an old school wing player who would attack the basket and shoot the mid-range well.
George Mikan was the first big-name player to play for the Lakers. He played during the late 1940s and into the mid-1950s. Mikan was a four-time All-Star, three-time scoring champion, six-time All-League selection, and a five-time champion. For his career he averaged 23 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. He was the first of many great Lakers centers.
While Wilt Chamberlain only played the last five seasons of his careers with the Lakers, he still makes the list. As a Laker, he made four all-star teams, won one championship, and one Finals MVP award. He was also first-team all defense twice as a Laker. Chamberlain averaged 18 points and 19 rebounds during his last few years. Even in his mid-thirties, Chamberlain was still a beast.
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