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Ranking The Best Lakers Players By Era

Fadeaway World

Fadeaway World

Ever since the dawn of basketball, the Lakers have been quite strong as a franchise, and while their true success came during the late ‘60s to the mid-‘10s, we’re talking about one of those brands that are always going to be extremely powerful.

Notably, the Lakers haven’t been able to find success as of late after winning Championships and 31 Conference Titles, as they’re still trying to go back to their old dominant self following the post-Kobe Bryant era.

Now, with LeBron James, the Lakers are bound to take a step forward once again towards Championship contention, and he’ll have the chance to join an exclusive list of Laker glories. Today, we’ll let you know about the best of them throughout their entire history.

60's - Jerry West

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Back in the day, Jerry West was one of the most prolific scorers in the world, let alone his ability to play lockdown defense against some of the deadliest players in the league. He was so impactful in both sides of the court, that he’s the lone player ever to win the Finals MVP despite being in the losing team.

Throughout his entire career with the Lakers, West averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists, he won 1 Scoring Title, 1 Championship, and led the league in dimes once. Also, he made it to 14 All-Star Games and 12 All-NBA Teams.

70's - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

There has never been a player like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and there’s little chance that we’ll ever get to see another like him. He had outgrown the Milwaukee Bucks, so he forced a move to the Lakers and completely helped take this franchise to the highest of levels.

A dominant scorer, rebounder, and shot blocker, there was nothing Kareem couldn’t do. Throughout his career, he won 6 Championships (5 with the Lakers), led the league in blocks 4 times, once in boards, and 2 times in scoring. He won 2 Finals MVPs, 6 MVPs, and averaged 24.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.

80's - Magic Johnson

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Magic Johnson was the ultimate versatile player. He started at center as a rookie for the Lakers and played all 5 spots, leading the team to the Championship and winning the Finals MVP, and that’s something that he could do night in and night out thanks to his height.

Johnson is the greatest passer ever. Hell, he’s the greatest point guard ever and holds the highest assist-per-game average in the history of the league. Throughout his career, he averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 dimes per game, won 5 Championships, 3 Finals MVPs, led the league in assists 4 times, twice in steals, won 3 MVPs, and 3 Finals MVPs.

90's - Shaquille O’Neal

After completely destroying all opposition with the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal took his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers to finally be able to win a Championship and grew up to become the most dominant big man this game has ever seen.

While he was the league’s most unstoppable force since completing his move to the Lakers, it took Shaq time before finding success with them as a team, as he didn’t win his first Championship until the 1999-2000 campaign, his 4th at Los Angeles. Throughout his career, he averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.

00's - Kobe Bryant

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Truth to be told, perhaps the fairest thing to do would be dividing the 2000’s into two eras, as Shaquille O’Neal was a major part of the team’s success until the 2003-04 campaign, winning 3 straight Championships with them.

However, it was Kobe Bryant the one who stood there and even embraced the role as the team’s leader following the tough post-Shaq era. He changed his jersey number, put the team on his shoulders and led them to 2 more Championships before the end of the decade.

10's - Kobe Bryant

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It’s still pretty early to tell who’s going to be the best Laker of this decade, as LeBron James is just getting started and Kobe left the league at the end of the 2015-16 campaign. Still, given his trajectory and what he gave this team, he’s getting the nod here.

Following his last Championship, Bryant tried to get the Lakers back to Championship contention but the team really struck out with players like Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Still, he finished his career as the greatest Laker ever, averaging 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists and winning 5 NBA Championships, 1 MVP, 2 Finals MVPs, 2 Scoring Titles, and 12 All-Defense appearances.

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