Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
(Disclaimer: Being the best Laker does not necessarily equate to being a better all time player in a historical sense. A combination of talent, longevity with the team, and impact on organization are what helped me compile this list.) The Los Angeles Lakers, more so than any other NBA franchise, have employed the greatest collection of top talent in the league. There have been so many great players that have played for the Lakers, that by naming the top 5, means I will be leaving out many great names. So, with all due respect to James Worthy, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Gail Goodrich, Paul Gasol, and many others, here are my top 5. Coming in at number five, is the “Big Aristotle”, Shaquille O’Neal. While O’Neal’s exit was acrimonious, his eight years in the purple and gold were legendarily dominant. During much of his time in L.A., he was the best player in the league and the main cog on the three-peat Lakers. There have only been a handful of players in the history of the game, that have been as good as O’Neal was at his peak, fortunately for the Lakers, that coincided with his time in L.A. Jerry West, “The Logo”, is probably underrated as a player at this point. His unbelievable accomplishments as General Manager of the Lakers from the 1980′s to early 2000′s are extraordinary. He helped supplement the the Showtime Lakers with more and more talent after he took over, and then acquired both O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant in the same summer. As a player he went to nine NBA championships, only winning one, because unfortunately, most of them were against the Bill Russell-led Celtics. However, he was a vital part of that first championship team the Lakers won in Los Angeles, and is the only player from the losing team to have won a NBA Finals MVP, which he won in 1969. Kobe Bryant comes in 3rd on this prestigious list. Trust me, I know this is ludicrous to many Bryant fans, but that is how great this franchise has been in regards of talent. He’s been with the team since they chose him out of high school, the summer O’Neal was signed to the team. Truly one of the elite scorers in the history of the game, a tenacious defender in his prime, a remarkable playmaker when the mood struck, and 5 time NBA champion. He will surely be getting a statue in front of the Staples Center very soon. The most prolific scorer in the history of the game, with the ultimate offensive weapon, the legendary “Sky” hookshot, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the anchor for the Lakers throughout the 1970′s and 1980′s. Without the “Captain”, “Showtime” wouldn’t happen, at least not to the glorious heights they would accomplish during the 80′s. Due to his aloof, surly personality, he is somehow underrated at times as far as his impact on the NBA and the Lakers are concerned, but no doubt about it, he is one of the four or five greatest players ever. Even better than our number 1 Laker…. Earvin “Magic” Johnson became synonymous with the Los Angeles Lakers due to his breathtaking style of play, and his effervescent personality, and contagious smile. He played his entire career in Los Angeles, and helped lift the NBA into the stratosphere. The best point guard, and passer of all time, he could also score just about as well as anybody when he needed to. While his defense was nothing spectacular, his team defense was strong enough. He was the engineer of “Showtime”, one of the most successful and appealing brands of NBA basketball of all time. Johnson is without a doubt the best Laker ever.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

LeBron James lists his top three friends in the NBA

Reds to have in-stadium nursery

Izzo: MSU could win football, basketball titles in same year

Durant ‘would love to’ spend entire career with Thunder

Elementary school sportswriter has hot take on Cam Newton

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Romo was willing to take pay cut to keep DeMarco Murray

Marcus Mariota reportedly not planning to attend NFL draft

Alabama RB dismissed from team after marijuana arrest

Golden Tate: Departure of Suh won't pressure Lion's offense

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Team USA improves before meltdown in Swiss draw

'Zo on MJ: He would average almost 50 in today's NBA

Report: Las Vegas season ticket drive passes goal of 10,000

WATCH: Steph Curry drops Chris Paul with crossover

WATCH: Spoelstra gives nice shoutout to Craig Sager

WATCH: Drew Miller takes skate to the face

WATCH: Gronk describes his perfect wife

Reigning National Champions to boycott Final Four in Indiana

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

New development clears path for Rams relocation

WATCH: J.J. Watt sings about stadium food on 'New Girl'

Kings ready to shut down DeMarcus Cousins

Jameis Winston may skip NFL draft to be with grandmother

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Curry drops CP3 with crossover

Durant wants to spend career in OKC

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Top 10 players in baseball

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.