The Los Angeles Lakers are the second most successful franchise in the NBA trailing by one to the Boston Celitcs’17 championships. While 11 of the Celtics’ 17 titles came in the late 1950’s and the entire decade of the 60’s, the team from Los Angeles has won 16 by succeeding in building dynasties consistently over a period of time.The Lakers have won NBA championships in every decade since the league was formed. Over the course of all these years, numerous superstars and hall of famers have dressed in the purple and gold jersey of the franchise and shouldered the city’s hope and dreams of multiple championships.Given that there are Hall of Famers that need to be considered it should ideally be tough to build an All-time starting line-up for this team, but fortunately the stars that shined under the spotlight of Los Angeles have all spent their careers playing at different spots on the floor.Each of these players have made it to the team based on their performance during their time with the Lakers. Here how is the ideal all time starting five for the Lakers would look like:
#5 Center: Shaquille O\'Neal
In a battle between Chamberlain and O’Neal for the No. 5 spot on this team, the latter comes out on top simply on the basis of the success achieved as a Laker by either player. Chamberlain spent 5 seasons with the team and won a single championship, while on the other handc O’Neal spent 8 seasons with three championships to his name.
During his time in Los Angeles, O’Neal was a complete beast especially during the Playoffs of the championship years, averaging 30+ points and 15+ rebounds. “The original Superman” was unstoppable during the years that the Lakers completed a three peat. No other center in the league could compete head to head with him.
O’Neal and Kareem form a unique dream front court duo in the paint which would be lethal on both ends of the floor. A major portion of O’Neal points come off power moves in the post or off lobs from his guards.
He was the most recent Laker, less than a year and a half ago to have his jersey retired to the raptors in Staples Center.
#4 Power Forward: Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Although he did win 2 championships and a couple of MVP’s as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kareem Abdul Jabbar enjoyed much of his success at the center position for the Lakers still in this team he would shift to the Power Forward position as his talents allow him to play his game from that position as well.
If it wasnt for Kareem changing his position, the battle for the center position was between himself and two other players Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal.
Most famous for his skyhooks, Kareem could not be left out of a Laker all time starting 5 simply because of his contribution to the team’s legacy in the 1980’s. Together with Magic, he won 5 titles for the purple and gold in that decade.
He is the leading scorer in NBA history with a mammoth 38,387 points, one of many NBA records to his name that wont be broken. Kareem will create havoc playing in the post for this team with his skyhooks and post moves.
His #33 jersey has been retired by the Lakers.
#3 Small Forward: Kobe Bryant
Arguably the greatest Laker of all time, Bryant is another player whose spot on the team was more or less a guaranteed. However, he would not be playing his most favored position. To accomodate West into the line-up, Bryant’s size allows him to shift to the Small Forward, a position he has played quite often.
He can spot up for threes and long jumpers, take successful drives to the basket and feed the big men in the paint with easy shots off his penetrations. He is the highest scoring Laker of all time and also ranks at the top for the list of most points scored in a single game by a Laker-81 against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
After his current two year contract with the team, Bryant will break John Stockton’s record for most seasons played for a single team of 19. The upcoming seasons also brings with it the opportunity for Bryant to surpass Jordan in the all time point scored list to move into third position behind Karl Malone and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
He might not have his jersey hanging, but certain things like the Lakers retiring a number and him being a first ballot hall of Famer are a given taking into consideration his career and contribution to the team.
#2 Shooting Guard: Jerry West
Kobe Bryant is the more accomplished Laker between himself and Jerry West but Bryant’s size allows him to play the Small Forward as well so the latter takes the number 2 spot on the floor in the all time Lakers 5.
Anyhow denying a place to the player after whom the NBA logo is incorporated would be rather harsh to say the least. Very little but it is hard to ignore the similarities between the NBA logo and a still of West.
Other than being remembered for the logo, West is the only player in the history of the league to be named the NBA Finals MVP and end up on the losing side. All through the 1960’s, he only met the Boston Celtics in the Finals and every time he would lose. He would have had another 5 or 6 more titles than the lone he has right now if it wasn’t for the Celitcs.
An underrated playmaker, West would bring efficient outside shooting to the table, something the team would be lacking just a little bit. His #44 jersey is hanging up from the raptors at Staples Center.
#1 Point Guard: Earvin \"Magic\" Johnson
With no other legitimate competitiors for this spot and arguably the best point guard in the history of this league, Magic Johnson easily finds a place on the Lakers all time squad. The floor general of the Showtime Lakers of the 80s, Johnson was one of the most versatile players of his generation.
Aged 20 and standingat 6 foot 8 inches, Johnson filled in for an injuredKareem Abdul Jabbar and played center in a crucial close out game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals withhis stat sheet at the end of the game reading 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals, no doubt a tremendous performancefor a rookie.
In a short career of 12 years, he amassed 10,141 career assists in a total of 1096 games played. His career was shortened when he tested positive for HIV aids and although he did participate in the 1992 Summer Olympics as a member of the USA national basketball team his NBA career never took off once again.
His #32 has beenretired by the Lakers.