Who should be in the all-time Los Angeles Lakers Starting Five?
The Los Angeles Lakers is considered as the one of the greatest franchises in all of sports. The topic “Who is the greatest Laker of all time?” is a hot topic even among the Lakers die-hard fans. Younger fans would say that Kobe Bryant is the greatest Laker of all time, while those who grew up in the Showtime era believes that Magic Johnson is greatest Laker ever while some old-timers could claim that Jerry West belongs in that conversation. Even the topic “Who should make it to the all-time Los Angeles Lakers of all time” is a tough one, as there are several All-Stars to choose from. With that said, making a list of the “Who should be in the all-time Los Angeles Lakers Starting Five” is very tough to make, as there would be omissions that would stir up a debate. But for the discussions sake here is my all-time Los Angeles Lakers Starting Five.
Point Guard: Magic Johnson
Is there any doubt? Magic ran the “Showtime” Lakers during the 1980s and helped the Lakers win 5 championships during that era. He won the Finals MVP during his rookie year, and won the 1992 All-Star Game MVP in dramatic fashion. He is also a three-time NBA Regular Season MVP. He is also a member of the 1992 Dream Team. Many consider Magic as the greatest point-guard of all time and he revolutionized the position by being a very tall point guard. Up to now, Magic is a very well beloved figure in Los Angeles and he is truly a Laker icon.
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant
Together with Magic, Kobe is one of the two “shoo-ins” for this list. Kobe Bryant is considered as the second greatest shooting guard of all-time, next to Michael Jordan of course, and many consider him as the greatest Laker of all time, at least, for those who grew up in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Like Magic, he won 5 titles for the Lakers. He won a 3-peat with Shaq back in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and back-to-back titles with Pau Gasol during the 2009 and 2010 Finals. He is a one-time NBA regular season MVP, two-time Finals MVP, Four-time all star MVP and the 1997 Slam Dunk Champion. He also won a gold medal for Team USA during the 2008 Redeem team and also in 2012. Many believe that Kobe is down to final playing year, and the NBA will never be the same again when the Black Mamba retires.
Small Forward: James Worthy
James Worthy was a crucial member of the Showtime Lakers as he played both forward positions for the Purple and Gold. He was the 1988 NBA Finals MVP and a 7-time All-Star. He is also a member of the NBA 50 greatest players.
Power Forward: Pau Gasol
Pau Gasol is considered by a lot of basketball fans as the greatest power forward in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers. He is also considered as one of the greatest European players of all time. During the mid 2000’s Kobe Bryant was at his peak. Unfortunately, he had a weak support cast as the Lakers struggled in the playoffs despite the great stats of Kobe. Then, Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers, and the rest is history. Gasol made an immediate impact, helping the Lakers make it to the finals during his first year with the Lakers. Then, he helped Kobe win back-to-back championships, making him one of the most beloved Lakers of the modern era. While he achieved individual success during his early years with the Memphis Grizzles, and he is experiencing career resurgence with the Chicago Bulls, most NBA fans would always consider Pau Gasol as a Laker, and as a great number two option during the glory years of the Lakers during the late 2000s.
Center: Shaquille O’neal
Shaq is considered as one of the most dominant centers of all-time. After achieving individual success during his early years with the Orlando Magic, Shaq signed with the Lakers, and the rest is history. The controversial, but dominant, Kobe and Shaq duo ran wild during the playoffs as they won a 3-peat back in the early 2000s. Shaq won the 2000 regular season MVP and he is a 3-time Finals MVP, and a 3-time All-Star Game MVP. He later got traded to the Heat, no thanks to his feud with Kobe. He won a title with Miami; then played for several more teams after ward. But despite all the good times and the bad times, all the highs and lows and the public feud with Kobe, Shaq will always be a Laker to the loyal Purple and Gold fans, and the Kobe and Shaq duo will forever be one of the greatest duos of all time.
This is a controversial list, for sure. I decided to make this more of a “real” team and be more specific with positions, and not just throw the top 5 Lakers of all-time, though that would also be a hard topic. Some would say, just move Kobe to the small forward and insert Jerry West. Or just put two Centers instead of having a power forward, never mind if they can’t co-exist in a “real” game. I guess, that is the beauty of this topic, as everyone is entitled into its own opinion. Anyone can change the frontcourt players and still build a super team, as Magic and Kobe are the only “shoo-ins” for this list. Let us know your opinions in our comments section. Go Lakers!