Lakers’ Forgotten Studs: Rick Fox, Ultimate Role Player – Fan’s Reflection

While Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant Were the Faces of the 2000-2002 Lakers Title Teams, Rick Fox’s Role in These Championships 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: Rick Fox

Bringing the Title Back to Tinseltown

Rick Fox joined the Lakers as a free agent for the 1998 season after spending the first six years of his career with the Boston Celtics. He played in Los Angeles from 1998 until his retirement in 2004.

Fox won three titles with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, and 2002. His impact on those title teams cannot be overlooked. While he was a role player off the bench in 2000, he was a huge contributor in 2001 and 2002.

The 6'7" Fox was overshadowed by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal but he knew his role and put up solid numbers with the Lakers. During his most productive three-year stretch in Los Angeles from 2001 to 2003, Fox put up steady numbers:

Rick Fox, 2001-2003 Stats - 28.2 MPG, 8.8 PTS, 4.3 REB, 3.3 AST, 0.9 STL

Fox had a solid overall game. In fact, only 26 NBA players matched Fox's averages between 2001 and 2003, with the vast majority of those players playing 36+ minutes to Fox's 28 MPG.

The Clutch Playoff Games

In 2001 the Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 in the NBA Finals. Rick Fox did his part to ensure the Lakers wrapped up the series.

In the close-out Game 5 Fox had one of his best performances of the season by contributing 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists as the Lakers sealed the 2001 title.

In 2002 the Lakers biggest hurdle in winning their third consecutive title was getting out of the loaded western conference. In the Western Conference Finals the Lakers faced the Sacramento Kings in a heated series that went seven games.

With Game 7 on the road in Sacramento, Rick Fox was at his best.

He scored 13 points, grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds, and dished out seven assists as the Lakers beat the Kings in Game 7 to win the series. The Lakers then swept the New Jersey Nets 4-0 to win back-to-back-to-back titles.

A True Legacy

As a Lakers fan some of my most enjoyable memories involve the completely dominant 2000-2002 title teams.

While Shaq and Kobe deservedly received the majority of the credit for those titles, Rick Fox and the Lakers' other role players were vitally important in winning those championships.

I will always remember the back-to-back-to-back title teams, and because of this Rick Fox will never 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: Nick Van Exel and His Killer Swagger

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Cedric Ceballos, Scoring Machine

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

Lakers' Forgotten Studs: Elden Campbell and the Lefty Dunk

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