Top 5 Lakers

Top 5 Lakers

#5 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

• Points: 38,387
• Rebounds: 17,440

• Championships: 6 (5 with the Lakers)
• 1st Team All-NBA: 10
• All-Defense: 11

Yes, Kareem won the most championships on this list (as a player), and yet he finds himself at the bottom. Well, Kareem is not a lifetime Laker like the others on this list and his titles were not all won in a Lakers uniform. Despite this, the Laker faithful warmly welcomed Kareem to the land of milk and championships, but he should be categorized as a Laker mercenary rather than a Laker (like Shaq). Regardless, the impact Kareem had on the franchise was immediate. He brought his championship prowess from Milwaukee and partnered with Magic Johnson to form the greatest duo in the sport’s long history.


#4 Kobe Bryant

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• Points: 33,643
• Rebounds: 7,047
• Assists: 6,306

• Championships: 5
• 1st Team All-NBA: 11
• All-Defense: 12

Kobe Bean Bryant brought the franchise back from irrelevance. Following Magic’s abrupt retirement, the Lakers slid into a 10+ year funk. The best players to suit up for the Lakers in the post Showtime era were Nick Van Exel and Sedale Threatt. Times were tough. Somehow, Lakers GM Jerry West convinced the Charlotte Hornets that Vlade Divac had more value than the future 5-time champion and league MVP. Kobe led the Lakers to seven Finals appearances and five championships between 2000-2010. With Kobe and Derek Fisher (okay yes, Shaq contributed to three) the Lake Show returned to prominence.

#3 George Mikan

Credit: Seymour Wally-Getty Images

• Points: 10,156
• Rebounds: 4,167
• Assists: 1,245

• Championships: 5
• 1st Team All-NBA: 6

Though Mikan didn’t play in a purple and gold uniform, his impact on the franchise is indisputable. Mikan’s dominance paved the way for Laker Nation to expect greatness. Not many fanbases can reasonably expect their team to compete for a championship every year. Lakers fans do and that expectation (for better or worse) is the result of the perennial dominance of one George Mikan.

In his seven professional seasons, Mikan led the league in defensive win shares five times, offensive win shares twice, scoring three times (second twice), and rebounding twice (second twice).

Yes, mostly thanks to his size, Mikan was in a class all his own. But his legacy ought not be discounted because of it. Mikan’s stardom transcended the sport in the 50s and is the central reason for the Lakers endless pursuit of star power to this day.


#2 Earvin “Magic” Johnson

• Points: 17,707
• Rebounds: 6,559
• Assists: 10,141

• Championships: 5
• 1st Team All-NBA: 9

The term showtime had no meaning for the purple and gold till Magic stepped foot in La La Land. His wizard like vision, court awareness, and style of play led to the most entertaining period in franchise history. Everyone tuned in to see the Lake Show and Magic is THE reason for that. His play was spellbinding and even kept Hollywood elites on the edge of their seats every possession. Magic led the league in assists five times (second six times) and is arguably the most versatile player to ever play the game.


#1 Jerry West

• Points: 25,192
• Rebounds: 5,366

• Championships: 1
• 1st Team All-NBA: 10

The “Logo”, no literally, Jerry West was such a memorable late-game performer that not only did he acquire the nickname “Mr. Clutch”, but his silhouette continues to serve as the logo of the NBA. After retiring, West coached the Lakers to three consecutive winning seasons and trips to the playoffs. The Lakers front office recognized West’s talent and allowed him to transition from head coach to general manager. This decision forever changed the franchise. His genius was fully realized as he orchestrated the most iconic free agent signings, pulled off the most consequential trades, and finessed the most legendary draft day transactions in NBA history. West’s executive leadership is responsible for ten Lakers championships. Despite his hall of fame playing career, West experienced more success off the hardwood than on it. Love him or hate him, Jerry West is the greatest Laker for the impact he had on the franchise as a player, coach, and executive.

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