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Lakers’ Forgotten Studs: Elden Campbell and the Lefty Dunk

Elden Campbell Bridged the Lakers from Showtime to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and He Should Not Be Forgotten

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As a Los Angeles Lakers fan I am all for honoring legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, and Shaquille O'Neal.

But there have been a number of great Lakers over the years who will never have their numbers retired but they deserve recognition - call them the Lakers' Forgotten Studs.

Today's installment: Elden Campbell

Bridging Two Eras - From Magic to Kobe

Elden Campbell was drafted by the Lakers in 1990 and stayed with the team until he was traded to Charlotte in the 1999 season.

The 6'11" center bridged two major eras for the Lakers. He started as a rookie in 1990 playing with Magic Johnson and James Worthy and left Los Angeles after playing with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.

Unfortunately for Elden Campbell his time in Tinseltown was the end of Showtime and the early stages of Shaq-Kobe. The Lakers made the playoffs in seven of Campbell's eight full seasons - including reaching the 1991 NBA Finals - but he never won a title in Los Angeles.

But don't blame Elden. The big man from Clemson was solid.

Solid Contributions from a Solid Center

After coming off the bench as a key reserve for his first three seasons, Elden Campbell became a starter in 1994 and subsequently reeled off a solid four-year stretch. Between 1994-1997 he averaged:

Elden Campbell 1994-1997: 13.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.6 APG, 2.0 BPG, 47% FG

The only others centers to match these averages from 1994-1997 were David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, and Alonzo Mourning.

In 1996 Elden Campbell's 212 blocked shots were fourth best in the league. His 1,602 career blocks place him 28th on the NBA's all-time blocks list.

The Lefty Dunk

My favorite memory of Elden Campbell was watching him throw down left-handed dunks when the Lakers needed a momentum-shifting play.

Though he was right handed, the big man often threw it down with his left hand.

As a Lakers fan the lefty dunks fired me up. It seemed like Elden was showboating just a little bit by going with the opposite hand to dunk, and I loved it.

This highlight reel made me smile, lefty dunks and all.

No Titles, But Still a Legacy

The early-to-mid nineties were tough for us Lakers fans. Instead of Showtime we had middling .500-type teams that usually made the playoffs but were lucky to get out of the first round.

While those non-title years are forgettable, some of the players are not.

Elden Campbell is one of those Lakers' studs who should not be forgotten.

Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Lakers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Sedale Threatt Owned the NBA From 1992-1994

Top Five Lakers Playoff Moments in the Kobe Era

Kobe Bryant's Top-5 Most Ridiculous Box Scores

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