The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in sports history. They have won 16 NBA Titles, and have sported some of the greatest players of all time. Perhaps there isn’t a jersey that is more widely known than the purple and gold, and the Staples Center is almost always sold-out as fans from Los Angeles and all over the world flock to see basketball games.
But there is no question that the Lakers are an extremely important franchise because of their amazing success in the NBA. They have won the second-most NBA titles, second to the Celtics who have 17 titles, and have had 5 major dynasties led by the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal.
But which one is on top? It is time to rank the 5 greatest Lakers Dynasty in franchise history.
5. George Mikan Era
George Mikan was dubbed the “NBAs first true superstar” by former commissioner David Stern because he revolutionized basketball. Mikan led the Minneapolis Lakers to 5 NBA titles, using his silky-smooth hook shot and powerful frame to dominate the game in the ’50s. Mikan was particularly impressive in 1951, where he averaged 28.4 PPG.
Mikan was recognized as one of the Greatest 50 Players Ever and is a valued member of the Hall of Fame. Without George Mikan, the Lakers would not be where they are today. He brought the franchise rings, dominance, and worldwide recognition and he deserves credit for building the foundation of the Lakers that continued today.
4. Wilt Chamberlain Era
Wilt Chamberlain played his later years for the Los Angeles Lakers, but they were extremely important for the franchise’s history. Wilt wasn’t the 100-point, 50-rebound monster that he was in Philadelphia, but he was still a force inside and gave the Lakers a top-ten player ever when he joined them.
As soon as Chamberlain joined for five seasons, the Lakers made 4 NBA Finals appearances and won one NBA title in 1972. The title-winning season was when the Lakers won 33-straight games, a spectacular achievement. Wilt and the Lakers were supported by “The Logo” Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and Elgin Baylor. This team was fantastic, and it was only a matter of time before they won an NBA title. West and Chamberlain were extremely exciting to watch, and their dominance on the court gives Lakers fans a legendary moment in time for them to remember.
3. Kobe Bryant Back-to-Back Era
This era was Kobe at his best. He was fresh off a beat down at the hands of the Boston Celtics Big Three led by Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. The Lakers were embarrassed and blown off the floor as Kobe led the Lakers to a 2008 Finals Appearance. The Celtics were too talented and too good, and the Lakers had no shot no matter how well Kobe played.
The following year, we saw an obsessed and driven Kobe Bryant that was probably identical to what Michael Jordan used to be. He led the Lakers to the Finals again, taking down a talented Orlando Magic team led by Dwight Howard and Stan van Gundy. Kobe won Finals MVP, only to repeat the same the following year defeating the Celtics in Game 7 for his 5th ring.
Kobe’s back to back era had the likes of Pau Gasol as his sidekick, and watching them bring the 16th title for the franchise was an important part of Lakers history.
2. Kobe & Shaq Era
Perhaps the greatest little-man, big-man duo to have ever played, Kobe and Shaq were the two best players in the league when they were together. They won three NBA titles and made four NBA Finals appearances, going on a run of dominance that we haven’t seen in a very long time from a duo.
Shaquille O’Neal is arguing the most dominant player in history, well Kobe Bryant is probably the most skilled up there with Michael Jordan. They were simply phenomenal, and they made the Lakers the best team in the league for four straight years. Shaquille O’Neal won three straight Finals MVPs, well the duo won three titles together before Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat.
Needless to say, This duo should have had at least six NBA titles for the Lakers.
1. Magic Johnson Era
The Showtime Lakers were the most important and influential period of Los Angeles Lakers basketball. Magic Johnson revolutionized the game as a 6’9″ point guard, and his passing ability made the Lakers unstoppable with the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy on the team. Magic Johnson is probably the best leader and best point guard ever, and this Lakers Dynasty was all-time great.
Magic Johnson won 5 NBA titles over his career, between a period of 8 years. This kind of dominance is unprecedented in Lakers basketball, and their success is mainly due to Magic’s playmaking and Kareem’s dominance inside. The pair were simply too dominant, and Worthy always performed his best in big games as he earned the moniker “Big Game James”. There will never be a more impactful era for the Lakers that will eclipse what the Showtime Lakers did.