Born in Minneapolis, the Los Angeles Lakers were a franchise destined for glory. They had a great run in their early days but struggled to keep on later, prompting their move to Hollywood to wear the purple and gold jersey. Thus far, the Lakers have won an NBA-best 17 titles. Moreover, they're the true definition of luxury and a winning culture, as they've put together some of the most impressive and star-studded rosters in the history of basketball.
Not every player gets the honor of calling the STAPLES Center home, but if you make it in Los Angeles, you know that you're going to have that superstar treatment wherever you go. That's the ultimate sign of status.
Needless to say, such a rich franchise has had nothing but the creme of the crop on their ranks, and today, we're going to honor those legends by letting you know about the top 10 players in Lakers history.
Honorable Mention: Michael Cooper, Derek Fisher, Byron Scott, AC Green, Pau Gasol, Mychal Thompson, Robert Horry, Gail Goodrich, Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon.
Top 10 Best Players In Los Angeles Lakers History
10. Wilt Chamberlain
While he was beyond his prime when he joined the Lakers, Wilt Chamberlain was the first of many marquee signings for the franchise. He was already a bonafide superstar around the league and perhaps the most physically gifted and dominant player to ever do it.
Despite his age, Chamberlain still averaged almost 44 minutes per game during his 5 years with the Lakers, helping them win a ring in 1971-72 with his 19.2 rebounds per game. He was 35 at the time and later mentored an up-and-coming Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
9. LeBron James
This could be a little controversial as LeBron James has only been around for a while but he's already earned his spot here. Not only did he lift the franchise back to the ultimate glory after a decade of struggles but he also helped them land their star of the future in Anthony Davis.
LeBron led the NBA in assists in his first fully healthy season with the team. He turned back the clock and started playing defense again and put the team on his back when it mattered the most, making them once again the team to beat in the league.
8. James Worthy
People just don't talk enough about James Worthy nowadays. He was an explosive scorer with impressive athleticism that defenses just couldn't contain when they were focused on Magic Johnson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Worthy understood and embraced his role on both ends of the floor and his grit and grind helped the Lakers win 3 NBA championships, even stepping up during the 1987-88 Finals when he was named Finals MVP.
7. Shaquille O'Neal
They don't call you 'The M.D.E (Most Dominant Ever)' just for fun. Back in the day, there wasn't a single human being that could check Shaquille O'Neal in the post, let alone take a charge from him.
O'Neal's physicality was only matched by his footwork, savviness, and competitive drive. He was a beast on both ends of the glass and the main reason why the Lakers won the three-peat during Phil Jackson's first tenure with the team.
6. Elgin Baylor
Elgin Baylor has a strong case for being the unluckiest player of all time but he's also one of the greatest scorers to ever do it. Sadly for him, he could never win a ring due to the Boston Celtics' dominance during the Bill Russell era.
Baylor still averaged 27.4 points per game over his career and was considered the best scorer in the world, averaging over 30 points in three straight seasons. Notably, the Lakers went on to win the ring on the very same year he retired.
5. Jerry West
For those younger fans who may not know, Jerry West's silhouette is actually the NBA's logo - although they deny it for financial purposes. If you're literally the face of the league, then you must have been a pretty good player.
West made a huge impact as a scorer but was also a dominant defender on the other side of the court. In fact, he's the only player to ever win the Finals MVP award despite being on the losing team. Averaging 27.0 points per his career, he led the purple and gold to one ring.
4. George Mikan
While often unmentioned, George Mikan made a strong case for being one of the best big men in the world during basketball's early days. He was a one-man show back in Minneapolis and the reasons why the Lakers were the team to beat back in the day.
Mikan led the franchise to 5 titles and won 3 scoring titles during his first 3 years in the league. Sadly, his professional career only lasted 7 years but that's just a testament to how dominant he was.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points scored. Moreover, he won an NBA-record 6 MVP awards and some old-school fans consider him the greatest player of all time.
Born as Lew Alcindor, Kareem outgrew the Milwaukee Bucks when he forced his way to Hollywood. Later, he carried the franchise to their most successful tenure, winning 5 of his 6 rings. Also, he averaged double-digits in points throughout his entire career.
2. Magic Johnson
Most people consider Magic Johnson to be the greatest point guard of all time and I won't be the one to disagree. Not only does he hold the highest assists-per-game average (11.2) ever but also, he was the ultimate floor general and the savviest playmaker ever.
Standing at 6'7'', Magic was the first 'point-forward' ever. His size, versatility, and skills allowed him to play and guard all five spots on the court. He led the team to 5 rings during the Showtime era before being forced to retire due to being HIV positive.
1. Kobe Bryant
The man, the legend, the closest thing to Michael Jordan we will ever see. Kobe Bryant is the definition of a Laker, and he was already considered the greatest player in franchise history even before his sudden and tragic passing.
Bryant's competitiveness and leadership were as tough and intimidating as his game. He demanded 200% from himself and from his teammates and that made him a 5-time NBA champion. He's one of the greatest scorers of all time and the only player to have both of his numbers (8 & 24) retired by the franchise.