Top five Los Angeles Lakers players of all time

The Los Angeles Lakers have won 16 NBA Championships, which is second only to the Boston Celtics. The Celtics own 17 NBA Championships in their history. Los Angeles is a city that loves basketball, and all the celebrities come out for the Lakers games on a regular basis. It takes a special player to be able to excel in this high-pressure environment. Over the years the Lakers have been able to find a multitude of extremely talented players. Making a top five list for a team as good as the Lakers is difficult, because you know you will have to leave off some terrific names. Let's take a look at the top five players in Los Angeles Lakers history.

Top Five Los Angeles Lakers Players All Time

5. Shaquille O'Neal(notes) - No one was more dominant than "The Diesel" in his eight years as a Los Angeles Laker. He helped the team to three NBA Championships, and he led the league in scoring in both the 98-99 and 99-2000 seasons. There simply was no answer for his brute power in the blocks. O'Neal was the NBA Finals MVP in all three of their title victories when he was with the team. Many Los Angeles fans still wonder why Shaq didn't stay a Laker longer, but while he was there he was nothing short of tremendous.

4. Jerry West - Jerry West was always a player who wanted the ball in crunch time, and more often than not, he delivered when it counted. He was the only player ever to be named NBA Finals MVP on a losing team in 1969. West considered retiring at the age of 33, but he fought through numerous injuries and won the 1972 NBA Championship. He teamed up with Gail Goodrich and Wilt Chamberlain to help the Lakers win an NBA record 33 straight games in 1972.

3. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar - How could a man 7'2 have such an amazing shot? Abdul-Jabaar had the soft touch of a guard, and he dominated in the paint for many years. He is still the leading scorer in NBA history with 38.387 points. He also ranks third all-time in blocks as well as rebounds. Jabaar changed the way the game was played on both ends of the floor. He won five NBA Championships with the Lakers.

2. Kobe Bryant(notes) - Bryant made the jump from high school to the professional ranks, and he has made it work brilliantly. Bryant and Shaq were the leading duo for the team in the early 2000's, but now the Lakers are Bryant's team. The Lakers won the title in both 2009 and 2010, and Bryant has quickly ascended this leaderboard of stars. He has already won five NBA titles, and since he has several years of playing time left, chances are he could win a sixth before he retires. Bryant can create his own shot at any time, and he is the best in the league at getting to the charity stripe.

1. Magic Johnson - Kobe may be closing in, but Magic Johnson is still at the top of this list. Johnson was an absolute freak of an athlete who also happened to be the best point guard in NBA history. At 6'9 he literally could play every position on the floor, and he always created a major mismatch. Johnson's rivalry with Larry Bird was the best thing that ever happened to the NBA. He led the Lakers to five NBA Championships, and he was named the NBA Finals MVP three times.

Sources:

NBA.com "Jerry West Bio"

Basketball-Reference "NBA Career Leaders and Records for Points"

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Updated Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011