All-Time Lakers Starting Five – Shaq or Kareem?

Magic Johnson – PG

With one of the most storied franchises of all time, who better to run the point than possibly the greatest player to ever play basketball: Magic Johnson. Unfortunately for Magic and the whole game of basketball, he was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 and wouldn’t play another game for five years when he attempted a comeback playing power forward. He could never get it going again, but he still stands as one of the NBA greats, averaging about 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Kobe Bryant – SG/SF

There is a lot of controversy on who the greatest Laker of all time is. Some would say Magic, others would say Kareem, and others would say Kobe Bryant. I think Kobe is the best Laker of all time, not only because he played his entire career with the Lakers, but also that he lead the Lakers to championships in completely different time periods. He teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal in the early 2000’s for a threepeat, and then won two more in 2009 and 2010 when he took on teams essentially by himself. The longevity of is greatness isn’t matched by anyone other than Lebron James, and that’s what puts him in the conversation as one of the greatest players ever.

Elgin Baylor – SF

It’s unfortunate the lack of talent the Lakers have had over the years at the forward spots. All of their star players have been guards and centers, and due to that, people at those positions get snubbed for guys who are not nearly as good. Elgin Baylor is good enough however. He averaged 27 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists. Ridiculous. I know. He was able to play like this due to the lack of talent on his teams. Other than what is happening right now, these were the worst Lakers’ teams of all time, and Baylor took advantage of that with his scoring.

James Worthy – SF/PF

James Worthy also played his entire career in Los Angeles. I am noticing a trend with Lakers greats. They all spend their whole careers in L.A. Why not though right? It’s a great city. James Worthy was the “Chris Bosh” of the showtime Lakers. He was always “just the third guy.” His value was far greater though. He averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was also a huge piece of the defense, as he averaged a steal and a block to go along with his already impressive offensive statline.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal – C

Sorry. I had to break the rules with this one. Kareem is arguably the greatest scorer in NBA history and Shaquille O’Neal is arguably the most dominant player 1 on 1 in sports history. How could you possibly leave one of these guys off the list? Kareem is known for the sky-hook and being an unstoppable scorer, averaging 24 points in his time as a Laker. Shaq on the other hand, is an amazing character on and off the court. Other than Michael Jordan himself, he may be the most well-known basketball player ever. He also averaged his iconic 27 points and 12 rebounds which will always help your case. If this team were to actually play, we can assume Shaq and Kareem splitting minutes at center and being happy with it.

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