Los Angeles Lakers all-time roster: See which legends made the cut

·7 min read

The 2021-22 NBA season has marked the 75th anniversary of the league’s beginning, a remarkable milestone for one of the prominent sporting leagues.

To celebrate the achievement, the NBA looked back to its extensive past and honored 75 of the best players to have played in the league.

The Los Angeles Lakers had 18 players, both current and former, make the list, regardless of their contributions while donning the purple and gold.

This list will be different. LeBron Wire is putting together an all-time Lakers roster using the franchise’s rich history as the framework.

Ground rules: Not every franchise great will make it due to positional priorities since this is a 15-man roster, especially because the Lakers have had countless successful big men throughout the decades.

Also, the list will prioritize what players accomplished while on the team. So even though Russell Westbrook is a Laker and would warrant a spot based on his production, his accomplishments came while playing for other teams.

Here is the all-time Lakers roster:

G: Magic Johnson

Brian Drake/NBAE via Getty Images

Mr. Showtime himself. No list is complete without Magic Johnson handling the point guard duties for the Lakers.

Career stats in Los Angeles: 13 seasons, 906 games, 19.5 points, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

G: Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant final game
Kobe Bryant final game

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant is simply one of the greatest players ever, tangibly and intangibly. He finished as the highest scorer in Lakers’ history. The Black Mamba gets the starting nod alongside Magic in the backcourt.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 20 years, 1,346 games, 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

F: LeBron James

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Like Kobe, LeBron James is also simply one of the best of all time, and he gets the start at small forward. He’s entering his third year as a Laker, and he brought a championship to the city in 2019-20.

Career stats with Los Angeles: Entering four years, currently 170 games and counting, 25.9 points, 8.8 assists, 8.0 rebounds

Basketball Hall of Fame status: No because he’s an active player, but he’s a first-ballot choice.

F: James Worthy

AP Photo

James Worthy starts at forward alongside LeBron. The No. 1 pick in 1982 helped the team to three titles and always came up clutch in big games.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 12 seasons, 926 games, 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar skies in for the starting center spot. The Lakers have multiple players who could work here, but Abdul-Jabbar makes the most sense.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 14 seasons, 1,093 games, 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

6. Shaquille O'Neal

AP Photo/Al Goldis

Shaquille O’Neal kicks off the reserves. There just hasn’t been the type of domination with size and physicality from a big man like O’Neal since his prime days. The Big Diesel was a nightmare for opposing teams, especially centers. He won three titles during his stint in L.A. and won the MVP award in each of the title years.

Career stats with Los Angeles: Eight years, 514 games, 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

7. Wilt Chamberlain

AP Photo

The trend for big men continues, but Wilt Chamberlain had to make the list. He only won one title in L.A. with extraordinary achievements elsewhere, but he played enough in the purple and gold to warrant a spot.

Career stats with Los Angeles: Five seasons, 339 games, 17.7 points, 19.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

8. Jerry West

AP Photo/HPM

The Logo himself. Jerry West is one of the backup guards on the roster. He is the second-highest scorer in franchise history, and he won a title with L.A. in 1972.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 14 seasons, 932 games, 27.0 points, 6.7 assists, 5.8 rebounds

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

9. Elgin Baylor

AP Photo/files)

Elgin Baylor gets a spot as a bench wing. He finished his career with the most rebounds in franchise history and the highest points-per-game average. The Lakers could use him in a variety of ways with this roster.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 14 seasons, 846 games, 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Yes

10. Michael Cooper

MPS-USA TODAY Sports

Every roster could benefit from having a pure lockdown defender, no matter the matchup. That’s why Michael Cooper gets a roster spot for the Lakers. He won a Defensive Player of the Year award in 1987 along with five nods to the first-team All-NBA defense.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 12 seasons, 873 games, 8.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds

Basketball Hall of Fame status: No, but he was a finalist in 2021.

11. Byron Scott

Todd Warshaw /Allsport

Byron Scott could flat-out shoot. He provides that skill and spacing to this roster as he shot 37.3% from deep throughout his 11-year stint with L.A. He also led the 1987-88 team in scoring with 21.7 points.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 11 seasons, 846 games, 15.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: No

12. Pau Gasol

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol brings a different element to the roster as a big man because he could slot in either at the 4 or 5, and his playmaking ability stood out during his time with the franchise. He was Kobe’s main partner when the Lakers won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

Career stats with Los Angeles: Seven seasons, 429 games, 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: Gasol recently retired, so he is not yet in the Hall of Fame.

13. Robert Horry

Vince Bucci / AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Horry adds more forward depth at the 3 and 4 to this roster, and his clutchness plays a key factor. He helped L.A. win three straight titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and he could always be relied upon to make plays off the bench.

Career stats with Los Angeles: Seven seasons, 448 games, 6.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: No

14. Derek Fisher

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Adding to the clutch players to the roster is Derek Fisher, who notoriously made timely shot after timely shot. He could play on or off the ball and is second in franchise history in made 3-pointers. Fisher helped L.A. to five titles.

Career stats with Los Angeles: 13 seasons, 915 games, 7.9 points, 2.9 assists, 2.1 rebounds

Basketball Hall of Fame status: No

15. Eddie Jones

Tom Hauck /Allsport

Eddie Jones rounds out the roster as another player who could slot in at small forward. The 6-foot-6 Jones made two All-Star appearances and received two second-team All-NBA Defense selections while with the Lakers. He shot 37.8% from deep as a Laker, and his athleticism on both ends of the floor was off the charts.

Career stats with Los Angeles: Five seasons, 314 games, 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists

Basketball Hall of Fame status: No

Honorable mentions

Because of the aforementioned positional rules, many Lakers greats didn’t make the cut.

Let’s credit some of them through the honorable mentions section: George Mikan, Gail Goodrich, A.C. Green, Harold Hairston, Vern Mikkelsen, Jamaal Wilkes, Bob McAdoo and Lamar Odom.

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