The Los Angeles Lakers franchise is arguably the most impressive and dominant NBA franchise of all time. They have 17 total NBA Championships, equalling the Boston Celtics record, and a host of some of the best players of all time. In fact, the storied Los Angeles Lakers franchise might have had 6 of the top 10 greatest NBA players play for them.
By narrowing down the list of the 10 greatest players ever, it is clear to see how 6 of these legends played for the Lakers. There is something special about wearing the Purple and Gold jerseys in the famous Staples Center, and here is the list of the players that managed to do it.
10. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain was the first real unstoppable center in the league. Wilt Chamberlain has a host of unbreakable records that will stand the test of time. His famous 100-point game and also his 50-rebound game will likely never be accomplished again, and Wilt was simply too large and too athletic for any opponent to handle.
Chamberlain was able to win 2 NBA championships over his career, including one with the Los Angeles Lakers. The first player to play for the Lakers appears on this list, and he certainly won’t be the last.
The Big Dipper averaged 30.1 PPG and 22.9 RPG for his career, which is just unimaginable. He won 4 league MVPs, a Finals MVP, and made 13 All-Star Teams during his Hall of Fame career. Up next is another great Lakers center who managed to win even more titles for the Lakers.
9. Shaquille O’Neal
The most physically dominant big man after Wilt Chamberlain was Shaquille O’Neal. While Wilt had tremendous athleticism, Shaq was just raw power. He would force his way to win rings, and there wasn’t anything anybody could do about it.
Alongside Kobe Bryant, Shaq managed to win 3 NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in a run that impacted the NBA forever. Because of how dominant Shaq was, the league has to enforce the 3-second rule. Shaq literally changes the rulebooks.
O’Neal and Bryant formed one of the best duos ever, and Shaq later won another ring as Dwyane Wade’s sidekick. Shaq brought winning, dominance, and impact every single year. His 3 Finals MVPs and 15 All-Star Appearances easily earns him a top-10 spot.
8. Tim Duncan
Mr. Fundamental, perhaps the calmest and collected superstar in NBA history. As great as Greg Popovich, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili were; the Spurs Dynasty went as long as Duncan took them. He was simply extraordinary on both ends of the floor and was the leader that any coach would dream to have. There is a reason legendary coach Greg Popovich hasn’t had success since Duncan retired, he was that great of a player.
Duncan managed to win 5 NBA titles with 3 Finals MVPs, and also captured the league MVP 2 times. Both as a young player and as an aging enforcer, Duncan was a special player and a winner that is a top-10 player of all time. He also never played for another franchise than the San Antonio Spurs which also makes him the greatest Spur ever.
7. Bill Russell
Bill Russell, the greatest winner in NBA history, is a Boston Celtics legend who has won more NBA titles than any other player. A whopping 11 rings put him on top as the player who has won the most chips, only Celtic Sam Jones comes in second with 10 rings.
Russell was the undisputed leader and defensive beast for the Celtics even if he only managed to win 1 Finals MVP. What Russell brought to 11 championship-winning teams was invaluable.
Russell has captured the MVP Award 5 times in his career, along with making the All-Star Team 12 separate times and the All-NBA Team 11 times. The Hall of Famer simply did it all on the court, and his 11 rings are enough to put him in the top ten.
6. Larry Bird
The Boston Celtics legend has to appear on this list because very few players had his competitiveness and overall impact on the game. Bird took whatever limited athletic ability he had and used it to his advantage. By being an all-time great shooter and great all-around superstar,
Bird won 3 NBA titles and 3 MVPs in his incredible career. If Bird was able to play longer, he would appear higher on this list without a doubt.
Larry Legend had an incredible list of major achievements including the Finals MVP twice, the Rookie of the Year Award, and also earning a spot on 12 All-Star Teams. Bird might be the most iconic Boston Celtic of all time and he deserved a spot on the top ten because of that.
5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
The greatest center to have ever played also happened to be a Los Angeles Laker. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had the most unstoppable shot in the history of the game in the skyhook, a running hook shot that was unblockable and unguardable.
Kareem had the perfect mix of dominant defense and offense, controlling all aspects of the game when he was inside. There is a reason he has 6 NBA Championships (5 with Los Angeles and 1 with Milwaukee).
Kareem has to be in the top-5 because his accolades are extraordinary. 6 MVPs, 19 All-Star Teams, 15 All-NBA Teams, 11 All-Defensive Teams, and 2 Finals MVPs makes Kareem the best center to have ever played.
4. Magic Johnson
The greatest point guard to have ever played happened to be a Los Angeles Lakers legend. Magic Johnson was the architect and undisputed leader of the franchise that won 5 NBA titles with him at the helm. Magic’s playmaking and leadership were invaluable and he is often regarded as the best player of his generation alongside Michael Jordan. Magic could take his teammates and make them better because he could maximize everyone around him.
Johnson is the most successful and accomplished point guard ever, and he was a unique player who could play all 5 positions. Magic will go down in history as a Lakers legend, but he is not the greatest Laker on this list just yet.
3. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, The Black Mamba, is arguably the greatest Laker of all time. No player has brought more joy and raw emotion to the Lakers than Bryant, because he left everything on the floor every time he played. He was a clutch, a dominant scorer, and simply the best player in his generation. Kobe won a total of 5 NBA titles, all with the Lakers, with 2 Finals MVPs and a host of legendary game-winners.
Bryant was literally the second version of Michael Jordan because he played exactly like him and was arguably as impactful offensively. Bryant achieved everything there was to achieve in the game, and he comes in at number 3.
2. LeBron James
It took LeBron James only 2 seasons before he won his first NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers. By acquiring Anthony Davis from New Orleans, the Lakers were the favorites to win it all and that’s what they did. LeBron and Co. took care of business and dominated the postseason before James earned his 4th title and 4th Finals MVP. As good as AD was, this was LeBron’s year.
The fact that LeBron was able to play for the Lakers only further process what an incredible franchise Los Angeles has. The 6th Laker on this list just so happens to be a title winner.
LeBron James is in a special company as one of the only two players to have at least 4 Finals MVPs. The other is most likely going to appear at number one. For now, James is still the King of the NBA and only has one person to chase for the GOAT title.
1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is still the greatest player of all time even if LeBron James managed to win his 4th Finals MVP. Last time we all checked, 6 Finals MVPs are a bit more and he did it without ever losing a series in the Finals.
Jordan’s dominance in the NBA was unparalleled because even if he wasn’t winning championships, he was winning scoring titles. He has 10 scoring titles and a Defensive Player of the Year Award, to go along with incredible Finals success.
There will never be another Michael Jordan and it is just unfathomable how any player can manage to equal what MJ did let alone eclipse him. Jordan tops this list as the greatest player ever who spent his career with the Chicago Bulls and later the Washington Wizards.