The top five Los Angeles Lakers that deserve a statue: Fan’s take

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has made recent headlines as he expressed frustration that the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to erect a statue of him. Fans have had mixed feelings about the fact that Kareem is the one making these comments, but it is hard to argue with the career accomplishments of the Lakers legend. Should he get a statue? If he does, should he be next or are there other players that should be enshrined? Here are the top five Lakers that deserve a statue.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Most fans will probably agree that Kareem should be next. Abdul-Jabbar formed an incredible combination with Magic Johnson during the Showtime era and Kareem finished his career as the NBA's all-time leading scorer. These are hard credentials to argue with when it comes to building a statue. His personality may have lacked the charisma of others, but his athletic accomplishments should be recognized.

Kobe Bryant(notes)

Few players have been more clutch the last fifteen years than Kobe Bryant, and he is bound to get a statue eventually. Not only has Bryant led the Lakers to championships, but also he has done it in dramatic style. Some basketball fans do not like Kobe, but he is type of player that every fan wants on their team. When the game has been on the line Kobe has wanted the ball, and many times he has ripped the heart out of his opponent.

James Worthy

There will be people who suggest that James benefited greatly from having Magic and Kareem as running mates. However, players still need to perform in key situations and "Big Game James" did not earn his title for nothing. The career Laker is still popular amongst fans that enjoyed the success of Los Angeles during the 1980s and he typifies the career athlete that makes for good statues.

Elgin Baylor

The tough part for Elgin Baylor is that many residents of Los Angeles in recent years know Elgin as the semi-effective General Manager of the inept Los Angeles Clippers. However, this doesn't change the fact that Baylor averaged 27.4 points per game during his career, and Jerry West called him one of the greatest shooters ever. That is high praise for someone who already has a statue.

Shaquille O'Neal(notes)/Wilt Chamberlain

Evaluating the Laker careers of both of these great centers is difficult when compared to other players who had longer careers with Los Angeles. No one will question their impact as Shaq did help deliver a three-peat and Wilt won a championship late in his career with the Lakers. However, neither player was exactly a career Laker, which might make a statue a bit inappropriate.

Sources:

http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/news/story?id=4758457

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/341053-the-top-10-greatest-lakers-of-all-time

The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he roots for the Clippers to become a winning franchise, and perhaps even the most popular team in their own city.

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Updated Monday, May 23, 2011