LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers was big news when it happened, this generation's greatest player joined one of the most storied franchises in history. This match was always expected to succeed, and so it did, with the Lakers winning the NBA championship in 2020 and LeBron James securing his 4th Finals MVP in the process.
Since then, there has been a lot of conversation about LeBron's place in the Lakers' history. With most other franchises, winning a title would instantly make him one of the greatest, but the Lakers have consistently enjoyed titles in nearly every decade since the 1980s. And as such, the names on any Top 5 list, including all-time Lakers players, are hard for anyone to break into.
Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant are locked for the all-time team, as is The Logo Jerry West. Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar both have excellent cases for it themselves, and there are a whole host of other stars that have also contributed to major success in those eras. So every analyst and fan's Lakers all-time Top 5 looks a bit different from the others.
LeBron James Shared His All-Time Lakers Starting Five
There is a difference between a Top 5 and a starting five though, building a starting 5 means paying attention to positions. And while LeBron is likely not on most people's top 5 lists, some of the other legends canceling each other out by position means he could earn a spot in an all-time starting five. And LeBron seems to think he does. He once included himself in the Lakers' All-Time starting five.
"All-Time starting five for the Lakers? I'm going Magic at 1, Jerry West at the 2, Kobe at the 3, myself at the 4, and Shaq at the 5."
Notable by omission is none other than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of the greatest players ever, and a pillar of the Showtime era of the Lakers. But this is something that LeBron addressed at the time as well though, explaining why he would choose Shaq. And then he addressed Anthony Davis, putting himself in the starting five as well.
"I mean Shaq is so dominant, man. I mean, I love Kareem too, I can't even front on that, but Shaq's so dominant, we need a big cuz I'm playing the 4, so we need a big. AD already put himself in the Top 5? Well put AD in, take me out."
LeBron James may be about to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's points record, but he'll need to win a lot more before he or AD can be in the team over the legendary center. Shaquille O'Neal being in does make sense though, so it's not like LeBron James' answer wasn't sound. In any case, Lakers fans will always have a lot to say about any list like this.