The Los Angeles Lakers have had a storied history throughout their time as an NBA franchise. Their 17 championships show just how many amazing players have worn their colors. The Los Angeles Lakers have had a hand in shaping NBA history itself, and there are many who view it as the greatest franchise in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Lakers wouldn't have accomplished all that without the help of people who make it possible. Coaches and players are what make success possible, as they are the ones who navigate things on the court. When asked to come up with a top 5 list of important Lakers for the franchise, everyone's list is different, though most will have some similarities. The same is true for current Lakers president Jeanie Buss. When asked about the top 5 list of important Lakers for the franchise by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, she had some surprising answers. The query wasn't limited to just players. The quote starts at (1:52:10).
You have start with Kareem. And Kobe. And LeBron... Magic might be number one. No, Kareem. I don't know. It's so hard.
Does he (Phil Jackson) count as a Laker? Then Phil.
While Jeanie Buss's list has some obvious inclusions such as Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant, there are some notable omissions as well. Jerry West and Elgin Baylor are both figures who are very influential for the Lakers, as well as Shaquille O'Neal who notably led the Lakers to a 3 peat. LeBron James is a notable selection, as he made Buss's list despite only being on the Lakers for a few years so far, though he did win the Lakers' first championship after the Kobe Bryant. With a list like this, someone is bound to be left off. That is part of the problem with making a top 5 list for a franchise with a rich past like the Los Angeles Lakers: there are just so many greats on the list.