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Lakers Poll: Where will Kobe Bryant rank in the pantheon of great Lakers?

Last Thursday, Kobe Bryant passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and moved into second place on the all-time franchise scoring list (video here). Assuming a) good health, and b) Adidas doesn't issue a kryptonite weave- all at once breathable, moisture-wicking, and debilitating- for their authentic NBA jerseys, at some point this year he'll pass Jerry West for the top spot. Given the way players move from team to team in the modern era, once Kobe gets there then adds another near-decade of tallies, it's hard for me to picture anyone passing him.

His accomplishment led to some energetic debate around town regarding Kobe's present-and-future place in LA's substantial basketball pantheon. Where is he now? Where will he stand when it's all over? The greatest ever? Spectacular, but still be behind Magic? Or Kareem? West? Elgin Baylor? Some combination of those iconic figures? Which leads to today's poll:

It's a tough one for me to answer (I grew up on Cardinals baseball/football and Blues hockey), and this sort of discussion can tie to so much more than on-court stats. For what it's worth, the player that most symbolizes the Lakers- I'm talking rapid fire, word association here- is Magic Johnson. Kobe's damn close, though, and it doesn't mean Kobe's career can't eclipse Magic's. Some might argue it already has. 

Determining a Lakers G.O.A.T. must constitute a particularly burly question for long time fans and native Angelinos, who grew up steeped in these giants and have made emotional connections through the accomplishments of LA's HOFers and the memories they created. And, of course, your answer depends greatly on a personal definition of "greatest."

What the question does most is underline how many incredible players have worn the jersey. For many franchises, this isn't a debate. Someone with Kobe's present/future resume would be the winner. For most, multiple players aren't part of the discussion.

One more reason it's fun to be a Lakers fan, right?


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by Mike Bresnahan for the LA Times
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“Amid all the attention heaped upon the return of Pau Gasol, the Lakers'
22-year-old center served notice that, um, he's still playing too.”
“He is now averaging 19.9 points and 11.2 rebounds. Gasol is averaging 19.5
points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two games.”
Oklahoma City Coach Scott Brooks said the combination of Bynum and Gasol on defense
was "very difficult" to penetrate."They're long. They protect the rim, they protect the paint,"
Brooks said. "They're not playing with their hands down. They are a very talented defensive
team that passes the ball very well."
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I'm a Lakers fan because of Magic, so I'm probably a little biased, there are probably a lot of people out there that are Lakers fans because of Kobe. But biased or not, i'm gonna vote for Earvin.

Dang, youtube is a beautiful thing, especially since I was internet-less yesterday.

Hey, are we still arguing about the Clippers broadcaster thing, or is that done?

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With 4 rings already, Kobe Bryant has a genuine opportunity to play at a high level for another 5 or 6 years minimum during which he will have a chance to win another 3 or 4 additional rings, giving him 7 or 8 total. Should Kobe end up winning 7 or 8 championships, there is no way that he will NOT be considered to be the GOAT. That is why I dubbed him the Prince of Basketball. He is in line to succeed Magic as the Laker GOAT as well as MJ as the NBA GOAT. Of course, there will be another young Laker – 22 year old center Andrew Bynum – who will then still be only 26 or 27 years old and will have already won 4 or 5 rings with another
7 or 8 years to go. That is the thing about the GOAT: his reign is guaranteed to end at some point in time.
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Magic is the greatest. It is Magic and will always be. On and off the court.

Kobe is second. Not too shabby.

People have short term memory. If people saw the entire picture (historical, on court, off court, retirement) like Magic saw the entire floor when running the fast break then you would never question who is first on this list.

1. Magic
2. Kobe

Nice poll, BK.

I'm hopeful about the future and as such, I believe it is likely that Kobe Bryant will retire AT LEAST as significant to the Lakers history as Magic Johnson, but that will require at least two more Championships.

No offense to Jerry West nor Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, but right now Magic is on top, followed by Kobe.

My rankings?

1. Magic
2. Kobe
3. Jerry West
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar
5. George Mikan
6. Shaquille O'Neal
7. Elgin Baylor
8. Derek Fisher
9. James Worthy
10. Gail Goodrich
11. Michael Cooper
12. Pau Gasol

[Where Thriller and Andrew Bynum end up on the list is up to them. Both of them have Top Ten potential.]

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Mitch Kupchack, can the Lakers have two Bynums next year?

Who should be the next Lakers starting point guard next year? Lakers current PG roster does not cut it, Lakers should look outside to find one.

It may very well find one in Detroit.

Will Bynum will be a free agent next year. Pistons won't be able to offer big salary to thei kid as they are already commited to Stuckey, Gordon and Hamilton, a fourth high paying guard Pistons won't be able to sustain.

Therefore Will Bynum will be up fpr grabs to the highest bidder.

Lakers should make a run for it.

Lakers has expiring contract in Farmar, Morrisson, Fisher and Mbenga. If they do not resign these players they will have salary space for WB.

A future PG with young Will Bynum and Shannon Brown.

Watch a Pistons game and you will see how good this guy is. Will Bynum is taking a lot of minutes from Gordon and Stuckey. What happens when Rip Hamilton comes back?

I think the reason Kobe will *eventually* eclipse even Magic, Kareem, West, Baylor, George Mikan, and Chamberlain will be the completeness of his contributions. This will come after he is over playing, when he moves into coaching and perhaps even being the GM. Certainly after he buys the team.

I think that in another decade, we will look back at the 8 or so rings he has won, the diversity of the teams he has lead, and the way he STILL will be at the top of this game. We will see how his leadership and coaching has continued to bring promising young players to reach amazing heights. And we will see how Kobe contributed to the dramatic expansion of NBA basketball worldwide.

by Kevin Ding for the OC Register
- - - - - - - - - - - - - Here are some excerpts:
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Sure, Buss suggests his fat payroll will stay "frozen" and he can't wait to get three more NBA championships to reach 18 and pass "our rival." (Buss couldn't even bring himself to say the words "Boston" and "Celtics.") But on Sunday night, he was building for the franchise's future by interestingly bringing son Jim to sit in on the owner's annual interview with select local reporters.
It was a first for Jim to be there, and it speaks to Jerry's vision that he's constantly thinking about these little things. Jerry, 76, has gradually been incorporating Jim, 50, into all Lakers decisions in recent years. Buss, in fact, said his son is "about 90-something" percent ready to run the show right now.
Asked if he has regained some ground with Bryant, Buss said: "I think so. I think Kobe wants to win so desperately; that's the thing that's most on his mind. Once he became convinced that was the only thing on my mind, I think we've now had that mutual respect that is required."
But even Phil Jackson hasn't always had the utmost respect for Jim, to the point that Jackson's girlfriend, Jeanie, took to the radio to defend Jackson's ability to coach young players in response to Jim's criticism. "My watchdog," Jackson said Sunday night, smiling.
Jackson also revealed that Jerry Buss made clear to Jackson when discussing rehiring him in 2005 that Jackson would have to live with Jim's increased involvement. Jim then put in the time to travel regularly for a season with the Lakers on the road and learn Jackson's ways, which was a big step forward.
Perhaps the only real concern in a Lakers world where, as happened Sunday night, the Black Eyed Peas break into impromptu song during a fourth-quarter timeout with the Lakers ahead by 26 points is whether Jackson keeps coaching them.
Jerry Buss said Jackson, 64, being healthy enough to ride his motorcycle over the summer was a good sign. Buss, however, also has the next coach on his mind, saying: "There are a group of people I have a special fondness for, and for obvious reasons I'll leave it unsaid. Jimmy and I talk that over quite often, actually." It might even be Jimmy who makes that call.
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[I beg the forgiveness of Laker Nation. I need to change my rankings.]

My rankings?

1. Magic
2. Kobe
3. Jerry West
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar
5. George Mikan
6. Shaquille O'Neal
7. Elgin Baylor
8. Derek Fisher
9. Wilt Chamberlain
10. James Worthy
11. Gail Goodrich
12. Michael Cooper
13. Pau Gasol

[What a list of players, huh?]

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Lakers Mt. Rushmore would be:


by Kevin Ding for the OC Register
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For now, here's Jimmy's call on what lies ahead: "We're a better team than we were last year. So if we won it last year, I guess that goes to say we should win it this year. ... If we win again, I'll look to raise the bar that much more. I'm not one that sits pat on a win."
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Kobe is ginormous,

but kareem and magic are still higher up in my books

KOBE = the greatest Laker.
I said it.
Sorry, Magic.

Adding to my last comment, I think the Lakers need at least two mountains however.

We need a another one for

Did Wilt play enough to deserve this honour? Did Shaq?

Oh and don't forget about Ceballos!

Better make it 3 mountains!

The one person who has seen all the great Laker players up close and personal from the 60's to 00's was the late Chick Hearn. And whenever he was asked who was the best player (not just Laker, mind you)he has ever seen, he always responded, without hesitation, that it was Elgin Baylor.

Anyone who feels qualified to argue with Chick?

by Mark Heisler for the LA Times
- - - - - - - - - - - - - Here are some excerpts:
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Making it even more fun, or agonizing, depending on your perspective, the Lakers finally have both Gasol and Andrew Bynum going, which hadn't happened often before.
Bynum was gone for the duration when Gasol arrived two seasons ago. They played together last season, but Bynum was a long way from where he is now.
Chicago's Joakim Noah said their game was like "the varsity against the JVs." This was like the varsity against the first five guys they found off the sidewalk.
Owner Jerry Buss sat down with the beat writers before the game, noting again that he was turning over the team's day-to-day affairs to his son Jim.
Jim, of course, once zinged Phil Jackson on the radio, whereupon Jackson zinged him back on the radio, and Jeanie Buss, Jim's sister and Jackson's Significant Other, zinged her brother on the radio too.
"Oh, I never zinged Jim," Jackson said. "I think there was the perception he zinged our coaching staff."
The perception may have arisen after Jim said Jackson shouldn't rip his players publicly, and Jackson replied Jim hadn't delivered the players he promised.
"I forget things like that," Jackson said, laughing. "It's great to be my age, isn't it?
"That was the other thing about me [according to Jim], that we have coaches who don't know how to coach young players.
"I didn't have to go to my defense. My watchdog went after him."
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While Magic Johnson is my all time favorite Laker, I do think that when it's all said and done, Kobe will be the greatest Laker of all time.

Kobe might go down as the greatest player of all time.

Go Lakers!
Go Chargers!

Behind Magic, who did more for the game as a whole than Kobe ever had the opportunity to do. He also took the team to the finals what? 8 times in 11 years? 7? 5 titles in his first 9 years.

But for Magic, this question would be more akin to "who is the greatest Milwaukee Buck of all time?"

so i'm going to sit on the fence.

but just like rushmore wasn't created to pick out which president was the greatest, but each with their defining moments. and just like we're often told to just enjoy the greatness of bron and kobe, I feel like we can say kobe was great, just as magic, kaj, west were.. and I know even though he uses alot of this to drive him, he's honoured to even be mentioned in the same breath.

what i'd like to know is - are we retiring 24 or 8 or both?

I take Magic as the Laker GOAT.I just think that what Magic did versus - particularly vs. Larry Bird, Dr. J, and Isaiah - some of the NBA all-time greats, in an era of super competition is more impressive. That being said Kobe is certainly in the conversation, and I can understand why some pick him - it is a tough call.


(And the answer to who is the greatest Milwaukee Buck of all time should be obvious to anybody with half an inkling of history, even if it was short lived)

I'd rank Kobe about even with Cap, only because Kareem had his most incredible years with the aforementioned Bucks (and UCLA) while Kobe's given it all to this one team.

It does hurt me to rate West lower than anybody though, and if we're asking who has meant more to this team on and off the court, he should probably edge out Magic right now, but...

I'd probably vote for Dennis Rodman as the worst Laker of all time.

Still too early to tell IMO.

It's hard to judge history while you're living through it.

LA Lakers 2009 NBA Champions

I don't think Kobe can pass Magic as the greatest Laker of all-time. Nothing wrong with that; Magic won 5 titles and has a pretty good argument that he is the best player ever. I contend that, given the same 4 teammates, Magic in his prime would defeat Jordan in his prime in a 5-on-5 game (1-on-1 is another story.)

The only way I see Kobe overtaking Magic is if he adds 2 or 3 more titles and at least one more Finals MVP award. Then it's a more difficult question. That's just too much to expect of a player (even if I am really hoping that it happens.)

I am also leaving out Kareem, West, and Baylor, mainly because I did not see them play and don't have a sense of how great they were.

Andrew Bernard
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>>> Where I somewhat disagree with you is that I fully believe that the likely source of
>>> Shannon's raise next year will be Farmar's salary, unless Jordan takes a pay cut....
Interesting comment since both players make about the same - $2M for Shannon and $1.9M for Farmar. There are several dynamics that will affect what happens. Here is my take on the two candidates:
(1) Jordan would have to be offered a qualifying offer of at least $2.8M in order to prevent him from becoming a free agent whereas Shannon can be offered any amount to resign. That means that Shannon will be much easier to re-sign than Jordan. Shannon so far has only shown that he is a bench player and not a starter whereas Jordan could be a starter for several teams out there. I think the Lakers will re-sign Shannon for a slight raise if he continues to play well for the rest of the season. Maybe a 2-year deal with option again.
(2) Jordan will likely be more in demand in the free agent market since he has an excellent point guard skill set whereas Shannon has some real questions as to what his skill set is other than defense and great dunks. If he has a solid year, the Lakers may end up opting to make Jordan a qualifying offer to keep him from free agency. In the big picture, Jordan Farmar is a much better fit for the Lakers needs than Shannon Brown because the team needs to find a replacement for Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar is the only backup guard with point guard skills. Shannon’s point guard skills (career assist-to-turnover ratio of 1) are insufficient to win the job.
(3) Jon K sort of said something in his last post that should resonate with Lakers fans. He said that the Lakers #1 option right now is Andrew Bynum AND Pau Gasol in the post. That makes the odds that it will be Jordan Farmar rather than Shannon Brown who will end up succeeding Derek Fisher at point guard since feeding the post is going to continue to be a major need by the Lakers for the point guard position. As we see right now, it is Jordan Farmar who is the first guard off the bench because Derek Fisher is the first starting guard to sit. When Shannon comes in, it is almost always to replace Kobe at shooting guard, a position that Shannon has a far better chance to contribute than point guard.
I freely admit that I have a bias for Jordan because he is a former Bruin and a true point guard, my position. Right now, it is obvious to me that Jordan is in the lead to replace Fish. Whether he makes the grade will depend on how he plays for the rest of the year. Whether he or Shannon get re-signed will depend greatly on how they play and on the team winning another championship. If that happens, we may keep both guys.
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Magic is the all-time greatest Laker because of his on-the-court and equally importantly his off-the-court actions. Kareem comes in second because, well because he was Kareem. And then you also have Mr. Clutch who was sensational as a player and even sensationaler as a GM. Then you also have to consider Elgin Baylor. So I'd put Kobe in the top 5, just not 1, 2 or 3.

With the influx of very good Point Guards the last four years. Very few teams are still in a hunt of a solid starting PG. Lakers is one of them. Maybe Miami and Knicks?

Young guards that already start or can easily start in a PG position

Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Devin Harris, Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson, Brandon Jennings, Russel West brook, Eric Gordon, Monet Ellis, Stephen Curry, Mike Conley, Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry, Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson, Jonny Flynn, Lou Williams, Rodrique Beabeaou, Randy Foye, Raymond Felton, DJ Agustin, Ricky Rubio. Total = 25

Old guards teams are still committed to..

Chauncey Billups, Steve Nash, Gilbert Arenas, Baron Davis, Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Mike Bibby, Mo Williams, Rafer Alston, TJ Ford, Steve Blake, Jose Calderon, Mike Bibby, Kirk Heinrich, Ramon Sessions

Will Bynum is a starter loss in a deep Detroit guards, better than any of the current point guards the Lakers have in Fisher, Farmar and Brown.

Remember how Detroit loss a young rising Mehmet Okur, because they already have committed to Ben, Rasheed and McDyess?

Currently Detroit is in the 11th seed in the East Conf Standings and may not make it to the playoffs. .

Hamilton = 11.3 Mil
Gordon = 10Mmil
Stuckey = 1.8 Mil (cornerstone of their franchise) will have to sign at possibly 12 to 14 Mil.

Pistons are already tied up with 3 high paying guards. How can they resign Will Bynum who will command a payday?

Being a Laker fan since the mid 60's, I have seen them all except for the Minneapolis players. Here is my list from the ones I have seen.

1. Jerry West
2. Magic Johnson
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
4. Kobe Bryant
5. Wilt Chamberlain
6. Elgin Baylor
7. James Worthy
8. Shaquille O'Neil
9. Gail Goodrich
10. Michael Cooper

I have exclude George Mikan because I never saw him play, and I have excluded Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum because on lack of data as a Laker. Shaq is a better player than this ranking indicates, but he was hurt because he didn't spend his career as a Laker (same for Wilt and Jabbar to a lesser extent.)

I love Magic, but he was no where to be found on D ... it boggles me that people say he's a better all around player than Kobe. For all Magic's gifts, such as playing center to win an NBA championship.... how much did his D cost the Lakers? Magic is 3rd after Jerry West and Kobe ( #1 ). The only thing that boggles me more is Steve Nash winning 2 MVPS whiling being non existent on D, those were Kobe's trophies!

that was a novel idea. Kobe buying the Lakers at some point after he retires, though most likely, it would be part of a buying group but still...

- wouldn't want him as GM though... Jason Kidd for Bynum? I didn't like that trade back then, now it's comical...

Don't forget there were no 3 pointers when some of the greats played; Kobe would not come near West otherwise.
1. West
2. Kobe
3. Magic
4. Kareem

If it were just based on talent, he'd probably be the Laker GOAT. However, IMO he still doesn't make his teamates better consistantly the way he's capable of. I'd put both West and Magic ahead of him. I honestly don't think it's that close.
1. Magic/West
2. West/Magic
3. Kobe


Magic is the best Laker ever for now.

Sorry but number Thirty2....Or 32....or Magic.....Before sneaker deals,drink deals and video clips flooded the 90s Magic made the game even more fun to watch..

Magic today...Magic tomorrow and Magic forever....

starting at point...Magic..
starting at shooting guard Magic..
starting at small forward Magic
starting at power forward Magic
starting at center Magic...

Need i say more....Its like getting 6 numbers in lotto...

I agree with Long Live Chick. In order...

The Logo

Although, if someone wanted to swap out The Logo for Elgin Baylor, I wouldn't argue.

If we have to make a vote at this time, I have to vote for Magic based on number of Championship, nos. of Finals, nos. of MVP's. However, it doesn't mean Kobe will not be able to overtake Magic, once his Laker career is over.

Based on Laker ranking, I would say: 1) Kobe 2) Pau 3) Ron Ron 4) Drew and 5) LO 6) Fisher 7) Shannon and 8) Farmar. I value defense over offense and their all around game. I have not seen Drew played a PG dribbling the ball from back court to their front court. Among the guards, Farmar is still lagging behind Fish and Shannon because of his defense and inconsistency in the past. I want to see more evidences within the 82 games season plus playoffs to gain that vote of confidence to replace Fisher.

Jordan Farmar asks for that kind of money, he's gone. I like the guy but he hasn't proven that he can "bring it" every night so I don't think he is in the frontrunning to be the PG of the future. I don't think his trade value is that high right now either, there's a bunch of small PG's around the league now, look what Collison is doing as a rookie, why would other teams give up very much when they could draft somebody in next year's draft and groom them in their own system at the lower base range salary? Farmar could start for a very bad team - IF that is what he wants, OR he could stay and collect some championship rings for a couple of years but most likely, he would be doing that coming off the bench.

magic is the greatest

1a Magic
1b Kobe
2a Jerry West
2b Kareem
3 Shaq
5 James Worthy

Well I guess technically this would be more accurate:

1a Magic
1b Kobe
3a Jerry West
3b Kareem
4 Shaq
6 James Worthy

Based on different rules and eras, it is incredible why we are discussing and comparing eras? Kobe has to live during the time of Elgin Baylor and beat him during his prime to get a fair comparison. Elgin has to be given a chance to adjust his game and play in this era to beat Kobe. Same case with West and Magic, so it is really worthless and exercise in futility to compare the ancient vs. the modern Laker players. This is like saying those skyscrapers in Dubai are more beautiful than those Duomo's or Churches in Europe. It is not a fair comparison, they belonged to different time. Besides, beauty lies on the eye of the beholder.

I voted for Kobe, as he is the face of the current Lakers franchise. That said, I think it just isn't right to compare players of different eras. Bottom line is, we are lucky to root for a team rich enough in tradition that it could justly have its own Mt. Rushmore of NBA greats, from Mikan to the present day.

Magic, no matter how many more rings Bryant may get.

I'd say it depends on what you think it means to play "Laker" ball.

You can easily, very easily associate Magic with Laker ball. He is like Nash is to the Suns, in terms of giving a team an identity and having his fingerprint all over it.

Kobe, unfortunately, has yet to get his 'color' or his 'personality' seep through the rest of the team, nor did he create a brand of Laker ball that we'll be fond of. As present, that person who can create that brand seems to be more Pau Gasol than Kobe!

But, if you consider the greatest Laker ever to be a player that is just unparalleled, I think it has to be Kobe since you just don't get such one-minded , vehement, vicious drive in a person regardless of profession. Plus he has the talent to take advantage of such drives.

And Kobe has just about topped all scoring milestones in Laker legacy; that will have to count for something :)

Magic Johnson is the greatest basketball player of all time

First when Magic became a Lakers 9 out of 12 season they went to the finals. He won with different coaches different players.

Kobe a great scorer has only won with Phil Jackson as did Jordan.

Without Jackson he didn't even make the play offs. Sorry guys that is not a great, great player.
Magic won with anybody and with different coaches

Magic has 5 rings, Kobe 4 (and counting?). Until he surpasses Magic's rings, he's just 2nd in the all time list.

Magic is the Greatest Of All Time.

Earvin Magic Johnson was a unique player and there will never ever be another one like him.

MJ was also a unique player and will never ever be another one like him.

Kobe is an amazing player but he is not unique. He is the best follower of MJ style.


Posted by: Charles | November 23, 2009 at 03:23 PM


1) Magic
2) Kareem
3) Kobe
4) Jerry West
5) Elgin Baylor
6) Shaq
7) George Mikan
8) James Worthy
9) Coop
10) Kurt Rambis (player and coach)

I have to admit, I got me a major 80's Lakers soft spot in the ol' heart. Kareem has always been my number one favorite player, followed by Magic. The reason I have Magic first is to acknowledge that Kareem wasn't winning NBA championships left and right prior to teaming up with Earvin. Kobe could move up on this list, but he'd have to mainatain this level of play for a few more years. We'll see.

Fascinating Kobe-related article this one - apologies in advance if this has already been posted:

I think I know what I'm getting for XMas :)

John Smith,

Besides the coaches, look at Magic's "other players" and Kobe's "other players" without Phil.
with Phil: mainly Shaq, Gasol, etc. etc.
without Phil: mainly people like kwame, smush, etc. etc.
It doesn't necessarily mean that Kobe needs Phil to win a championship. He needed better players as well.

The Magic man. Magician. MagMeister.

The greatest laker is not a player- its Dr. Buss.

Kobe, Magic and JWest are next in line at Mt. Rushmore.

Thanks #4! Ingat Pare Ko!

By the Time kobe Retires, He will be greatest Laker perhaps Greatest player of ALL-TIME, ASK PHIL JACKSON THAT QUESTION, HE KNOWS KOBE better than who ever is reading this article who never played ball in their entire life. Kobe got 4 rings he is only 30 or 31, he got 5 good years left to Compete at HIGH LEVEL. if he surpasses Jordan in RINGS!! Thats all matter JEWLERY does all the TALK. I know there are allot of KOBE FANS but even MORE HATERS!! Who stil say he sucks LOL, that the funnies things i hear when people say that.... but i have been following basketball all my life got PASSION for that Sport and played ball in high shcool. Kobe Bryant is the reason i watch NBA, got LEAGUE PASS, and I consider my self LUCKY TO BE WITNESSING THIS GUY!! player like KOBE/ JORDAN come once in a CENTURY!! Jordan was 1900's. KOBE IS 2000'S..........

How is this an different from a Kobe v/s Jordan or a Kobe v/s LeBron discussion?
How would Magic have fared in today's NBA? How would Kobe have done in the 80s?
You know there will be no definite way to measure who was the GOAT - just a lot of space occupied on the ever-expanding internet :)

Magic played with Kareem, James Worthy, Micheal Cooper, Byron Scott, AC Green, Bob McAdoo, Mychal Thompson, etc. HOF'rs, League MVP's, Defensive Player of the Years, Finals MVP's, Scoring Champs, etc.

As far as GREAT players Kobe has played with Shaq. I'll need to wait and see what Kobe does now that he has a new player approaching the level of players Magic had, including Pau and hopefully someday Andrew. Because of that Magic's still #1 but if they both end up with 5 Championships then it's tough.


Kobe has #2 greatest Laker locked right now.

The only question is will he be able to do enough to get to #1 before he hangs it up.

Right now, he's at 4 rings, second only to Mikan, Magic and Cap. If he can get 2 more, he will have won more with and for the Lakers than any other player.

Right now, he's in his 14th year with the Lakers, which is the length of Cap's Magic's and West's time with the team. I'm pretty sure that no other player has been with the team longer than those 3 and I'm pretty sure that Kobe will surpass that next season.

All time points leader is all but assured.

Assists? He'll likely end his career having dished out more than any Laker not named Magic.

Rebounds? Likely more than any player not named Elgin or Kareem.

Personally, he'll be #1 if he gets 2 more rings. I couldn't care less about the rest of the stuff. Trips to the Finals are nice, but unless there's a parade afterwards, it doesn't matter. Just like there are no banners hanging for division titles, there are none hanging for trips to the Finals.

Magic's defense was much better than he's given credit for. He certainly wasn't a stopper but he was an excellent team defender. He was the all time leader in steals when he retired. Kobe and Jordan have more individual talent, but Magic was the best leader, the best at making his team mates better, the best at being able to do whatever it took to win. He is without a doubt the greatest Laker, and I would take him over Jordan or anyone else if I was building a team.

Greatest Lakers: 1 Magic 2 Kobe 3 West 4 Shaq 5 Kareem 6 Wilt 7 Baylor 8 Mikan

Why rank? Magic, Kobe, Jerry West - all faces of the franchise.

Needs to win one more title to be in the same place as Magic.
Needs to win two more titles to move ahead of Magic.

Long Live Chick,

Wilt and Shaq definitely deserve to be among the Laker Greats.

Shaq = 3 Championships/3 Finals MVPs

Wilt = Broke the curse of almost a decade and a half of suffering in the post-Mikan Era.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Worth a comment.

If the poll is about Laker playing careers only, Magic 1, Kobe at the 2 where he's comfortable.

If it has to do with all around Laker, ya gotta put the Logo in that mix for all he did for the franchise as a player and general manager.

Magic Johnson is the most successful Laker of all time. 5 rings, and champion of the post player world as well. Kobe is one ring and a couple MVPs shy of the top spot.

Another interesting question: who had the better team? That was always a no brainer answer but this team is looking like it could change voting in that poll.


I have a personal request that I ask you to consider.

Would you guys look into doing an interview/thread with/on Elgin Baylor?

Elgin seems to me to be that "lost Laker." I remember hearing Chick Hearn be asked who was the best Laker he ever saw play. His answer? "Elgin Baylor."

With the exception of only a few highlights, I've never had a chance to see Baylor play. I've read that he was the guy who introduced athletic "Jordanesque" moves into basketball. I'd like to know a lot more. I think most of Laker Nation would too.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


P. Ang,

The 4th guy on your Mt. Rushmore, no other else but P. Ang, the blogger.


"Why rank? Magic, Kobe, Jerry West - all faces of the franchise."

Good point.

We should probably look at it like this: Any player who has had his jersey retired (which should of course include Mikan) is on equal footing with all the Laker Greats.

They've hit the realm of Immortals... and that's enough.

These are the guys (along with Dr. Buss and Chick) who MADE the Lakers. That's what's important.

It is a team sport, after all.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.



The questions are:

How many points would Jerry West have if they recorded three-point shots throughout his career?

How many blocks would Kareem have if they recorded blocks throughout his career?

The present way that statistics are done really screws players of earlier generations.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.



So thats 1. Buss 2. Kobe 3. Magic 4. West and 4. (again) Me? Seems to be stuck at 4.

Besides, that honor should go to our good friend Mike T.

Magic, Kareem and Wilt


Looking for a perfect PG scenario, how about the speculation of CP3 joining Kobe in 2012 by Randy Youngman of Orange County Register. That's the end of the world with the alignment of perfection from 1,2,3,4 & 5. If our goal is dynasty make the CP3 happen and drop half of the Lakers starting from Farmar, Vujacic, Morrison, Walton, Powell, Fisher and DJ. Who are the remaining players? Kobe, Pau, Drew, Artest, CP3 and the reserves will be LO and Shannon plus five rookies from D' League or Euroleague.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
If the last two games are any indication, the Lakers roster looks pretty damn good to me right now and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Lakers put their faith in these 13 players to win it all.

PG – Fisher, Farmar
SG – Bryant, Brown, Vujacic
SF – Artest, Morrison, Walton
PF – Gasol, Odom, Powell
CE – Bynum, Mbenga

The starting lineup is the best in the NBA in my opinion. It has the best shooting guard and player in the game today in Kobe, the premier power forward in the league in Pau, the best young center in the Western Conference in Andrew, the best defensive small forward in Ron, and one of the toughest and most clutch point guards ever in Fish. There is not another starting fivesome that it is as feared.
One thing that stood out to me watching the last two games is the almost complete transformation of the Lakers from the admittedly soft team that lost to the Celtics 2 years ago to the big, long, rugged, and physical starting lineup that shifted into high gear the instant that it finally got all its player back. Make no mistake, these Lakers are a lot more bully than patsy and physical than finesse right now.
The emergence of Drew as a dominant inside force, the addition of toughness and defense via Artest, and the continued growth and development of Gasol has given the Lakers a significant boost in their confidence and testosterone. Drew, Pau, and Lamar give us unmatchable height and length while Drew, Ron, Kobe, and Fish give us unmatchable strength, muscle, physicality, and toughness.
I think Lakers fans should stop going ballistic on Derek Fisher. First, Phil is not going to bench him so all this moaning and groaning is moot and futile. Second, Fish provides championship proven mettle and toughness that Fisher and Brown have never shown. Nobody on this team, including Brown, can stop perimeter penetration against quick and fast point guards one-on-one. The only way to do it is how the Lakers and other good defensive squads do – with great team defense, something that I trust Derek Fisher to play much more than Jordan Farmar or Shannon Brown, who both lack in that area.
When we get into the playoffs, who do you want taking those clutch wide-open 3-point shots? I’ll take Fish for another year with little hesitation. In fact, I think that the combination of Fish and Farmar is going to end up having an excellent year, with Jordan getting more time as the season progresses in order to save Fish’s legs for the playoffs. One thing that a lot of teams are going to misjudge is the speed of this Lakers team. Other than Dwight Howard, I don’t know of any other 7-footers who get up and down the court better than Bynum and Gasol. And the Lakers have the luxury of having one of them release early to look for easy buckets in transition, something Drew and Pau both do well.
Finally, I am liking the way Phil is working out the rotation, understanding that he is still doing some experimentation. I think the backup guard combo of Farmar and Brown has some great potential. For one thing, playing Farmar with Brown helps minimize Jordan’s defensive inadequacies while playing Brown with Farmar does the same for Shannon’s questionable ball handling and play making. The proof was in that picture perfect lob pass that Jordan gave Shannon for his latest YouTube entry. I also love how Phil is keeping two starters plus Lamar on the floor for Farmar and Brown.
Throw in some potential game-saving 3-point shooting from Sasha and Ammo, some great spot up shooting from Josh, low post energy and shot blocking from DJ, and chemistry-inducing playmaking from Luke once his back heals and you have a very deep and versatile bench that can contribute.
Like I say, the 79-3 bandwagon is still alive and kicking. NO TRADES REQUIRED.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kobe grew up wanting to be a Laker because of Magic.

So, no matter how great Kobe gets, Magic is #1.

I agree with Edwin, based on sports play alone, it's foolish to compare different eras. Also we can't judge Kobe until his career's finished, which might be a long time. 

Post-career should also count for something. West became a great GM. KAJ delved into Black history & his own roots. Magic spearheaded investment in poor communities in LA & across the nation.

Based on totality of playing career and post-career, especially his continued involvement with the city of LA, I'd have to go with Magic. Kobe is single-mindedly devoted to winning, but what happens after his playing days are over? I hope he channels his energies into good works like Magic has done.    

Kobe Is Great, but not better than Magic, Chamberlain, West,and Kareem. He will most likely be the greatest laker scorer, but not the best in franchise history.

Suddenly I have a lot more faith in Dr Buss' son Jim. As long as the son in charge isn't the one that made the speech after last year's championship clinching game in Orlando, I'm OK with this transition of power. And Jim has made (as I just read) some big decisions in this team's makeup. We all know he pulled the string on Bynum, but Artest too?

I'm on his side, now. Every time I see Bynum stretch in unnaturally long ways to grab a rebound, and every time I hear a coach lament the length of our front line, my faith grows a little more. Who were we going to draft? Sean May and Ike Diogu? My God.

1 1 Andrew Bogut C
1 2 Marvin Williams F
1 3 Deron Williams G
1 4 Chris Paul G
1 5 Raymond Felton G
1 6 Martell Webster G/F
1 7 Charlie Villanueva F
1 8 Channing Frye C
1 9 Ike Diogu F
1 10 Andrew Bynum C United States Los Angeles Lakers St. Joseph HS (Metuchen, NJ) HSSr.
1 11 Fran Vázquez F/C
1 12 Yaroslav Korolev F
1 13 Sean May F

Yeah, I think it was one of those two. The Bynum pick really saved/resurrected the franchise, and we shouldn't ignore the fact that it was Jim Buss that pushed for him. That's a solid, almost historic FO moment that brought us to this glorious place we're traversing right now.


i note it this way.

Magic never had to go through a rebuilding period as Kobe did.

Sure Kobe won three with Shaq and Magic won his with Kareem but to go through a rigorous death through rebuilding with absolutely no team deserves worthy of merit.

Kobe is number one in my books. I love showtime, but you got to respect rebuilding, which is hell. Something Magic didn't go through.

Magic is probably the most noted and most famous of all Lakers. if that's what makes you think he is the number laker than that's fine with me, but if it's about overall carry a sorry team on my back, than it's Kobe bean bryant.

the tenure or years at which Kobe had to carry his team was almost half a decade. during those years it was so hard to watch. loss after loss after loss. boring after boring after boring.

my ranking goes to all time best Laker: Kobe Bryant
to all time best famous Laker: Magic Johnson

sometimes the word Magic is so synonymous with Lakers it's hard to see the word Kobe so synonymous with the word Lakers.

so i guess if it's about a Laker icon, i'd go with Magic, but if it's about the upper pantheon of the NBA with the GOAT's such as MJ than Kobe Bryant and of course magic, but on a lower degree.

I think magic will always get the nostalgic vote because of what he meant for the league and his personality and his one of a kind game not to mention the way his career ended.Comparing Kobe to Magic is like comparing him to Jordan (ie the circumstances surrounding the league and marketing etc at the time makes it impossible for there to be another Jordan)Magic is the historical face of the franchise and one of the most beloved figures in the history of sports.On that level Kobe can't compete.

I think beyond a certain level of eliteness it is often impossible to truly compare who a better player is from the same era ,let alone different ones but when assessing the greatest laker as opposed to the best player)longegevity and team records etc has to come into it.

If this current team repeats Kobe is in the discussion big time...a couple more titles over the next three years and Kobe has to be the greatest laker...
Already I'd say he's the best player to play in a lakers uniform...his work on both ends of the floor seperates him.

Oh and don't forget about Ceballos!

Better make it 3 mountains!

Posted by: Long Live Chick | November 23, 2009 at 02:16 PM

Hold on. I think Ceballos is in the giant gravel pit below the monument along with Mitch Richmond and JR Rider...


Bottom Line: #1, it's where the Buck stops.

Go Lakers ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I thought hard about the GOAT question and I can totally understand people putting Magic at the top of the list. I was always (annd still am) a huge fan of Magic. And Kareem... I still remember being called downstairs by my dad to watch Lew Alcindor play for the Bucks on out little b&w zenith.... I couldn't believe what I was watching. Kobe's given us a body of work however, that can't be denied. I think he's the most competete player of the modern era, does things that border on the impossible, has a work etchic and drive that's second to none. Right this moment, I'm not sure that he's passed Magic, but I have to think he's right there in the picture. And, he's still playing, still innovating, still dominating.

KB Blitz said:

"You Pau Lovers need to turn down your disrespect meters. You imagine every comment as a slur to your beloved Spaniard. There is only one indispensible player on this team and his name is Kobe Bryant."

Just like you Bynum lovers need to turn down your disrespect meters. When Jackson had Pau and Lamar out there (and they didn't know Bynum's injury) both you and Nem were irked about Bynum not being out there and believed it was disrespecting your beloved beastie.

Just like Pau isn't as indispensible as Kobe neither is Bynum. You best remember that.

Posted by: KB Blitz | November 23, 2009 at 10:20 AM

My Fellow LAKER FAN KB Blitz,

There has been much that we've been in agreement about despite being strictly perceived as nothing but a Bynum backer. First of all, I've made it pretty clear that my favorite player is Kobe Bryant and that I'm rooting for all our Lakers to do well. I've also stated many times how great a player Pau Gasol is and has been as a Laker. I'm just hoping for Andrew to have a break out year and prove that his glimpses of potential stardom wasn't an abberation. Truth is, Bynum is the big question mark or unknown on this blog and I would like nothing more than to see him succeed only because it will strengthen our Lakers in our bid to repeat and possibly winning multiple titles.

If and should Bynum fulfill his potential and help us win more titles, who on this blog as a true Lakers fan wouldn't want that??? Again, Kobe, Pau, Fish and to a lesser degree LO are proven commodities. Andrew, Farmar, Sasha, Brown, Ammo and Powell still have a lot to prove, but if they all do well it will only make us even better, no??? With me it has never been about comparing Pau to Andrew, but how each one can help the other one become better.

The reason I was irked about Drew not getting more playing time(before I knew about the injury)was because I wanted to see Drew and Pau play a little more together to develop more chemistry. We all know how well Pau and LO play together and so I just wanted Drew and Pau to get a little more run together. My comments were taken out of context. My rooting for Andrew has more to do with where's he come from(out of nowhere despite being taken 10th overall), two promising seasons cut short by freak, yet serious injuries(which is being debated on this blog whether he's injury prone or not. Yet to be determined), how hard he's worked both times to come back from injury(hard to question his work ethic), goal to become an All-Star(wow, so soon after two injury plagued seasons?) and last but not least, many on here, perhaps with good reason are skeptical and sometimes ufairly critical. While I hold Andrew in high esteem, I am in no way obsessed with him like Mike T was with Kwame or revere Drew as our good friend and fellow Laker fan, LakerTom.

Like you and many others on here, I consider myself a Lakers fan, period.

Some folks here have said that you should see what he does after he is finished as a player, how much good does he do the society etc..

But folks, please look at the poll. It says "By the time Kobe Bryant retires, he will be...." - This means when he is done playing, not how much he does for the society or does he become GM etc etc.

"Magic inspired Kobe to be a Laker, so Magic is better than Kobe". So, as per this logic : Nigell Mansell inspired Michael Schumacher to become a F1 driver, so is Mansell greater than Schumacher??

If you compare players on hard work, takent and work ethic - then Kobe is the Greatest of ALL, not of the Lakers. If you count championships and MVP/Final MVPs as measuring sticks, then Magic and even Shaq would rank above him.. hahahaha :-)

Kobe is well on his way but as of right now i have to go with Magic Johnson... What Magic did his rookie year in the NBA finals is just ridiculous!!!

The hook shot in Boston taking down the pistons etc etc ...

Magic is the GOAT (Lakers History) as of now... We will have to see when it is all said and done how Kobe's career ends. If he can get 3 more rings and 3 finals MVPs and take out the Celtics for the most franchise championships than we can say Kobe is the G.O.A.T.!!!

Already in the argument for greatest of all time, and I'm sure by the time he's done, he'll have an overwhelming body of work so support that assertion.

Whoa... It took me an entire sleeping night to come up deciding to answer this thread.

It's pretty much like asking which one of your well adored sons a mother loves the most, you know?
It's kinda... taboo?

Seriously, I have an hard time giving an answer, and this as sharply and lovingly pointed out by the article, is the exact measure of the Lakers franchise brilliancy over the decades.

We don't fully realize how much we're blessed in having got Cupid's basketball arrows stick onto our tergas and printed in purple and gold and not others colours. We often don't consider that we are lucky spoiled brats in being part of the greatest of sport families.

So many geniuses of teh court to chose from. Each one of the potential GOATS (at least 5 to me) having their well deserved rights to claim their crown as THE FIRST.

To me the choice has been ultimatively between Magic and Kobe.
And I had to think about my feelings an entire sleeping night over.

To me in the end Kobe will be the greatest. If nothing happens (and nothing must happen), namely he keeps playing some more years this way, the result for me is that Kobe will also be competing and eventually steal MJ crown (okay, I said it. I think so. Don't jump at my throat, cos I haven't said a thing that is so out of the world, with all the respect I have for the immense MJ) for NBA total GOAT.

And that is why I have logically to give him the top spot in the Lakers. It's just logical assumptions and axioms, you know.

So this is the pantheon to me as it will be by Kobe's retirment day (I wanna underline the time factor, cos this gives our beloved the push to keep playing at the very top of his game... not that I doubt for a second his monstrous working ethic, that's one of the things I love the most in him):


All said and done, to me is Kobe due to his skills, the effectiveness, the leadering attitude, the monstrous dedication, the way he has overcome his troubles (in any field) the way he keeps his personality no matter what (he doesn't want to be considered the cool guy, the hip guy, the portrait of happiness and cheerfullness guy.. NOPE: he just plays HIS way, which happens to be the epitome and totalness of the basketball game.)

I chose Kobe cos all he has is talent, and will. His shape ISN'T the best shape. Physically he was not completely fit for his role(s) as many other greatests of all time have been, or are.

So... in that Kobe has also one of the characteristic I side for the most: he was in a small way ALSO un underdog.

People tend to forget this too easily. All he has achieved comes out from a God given IMPRESSIVE talent, a completness which is almost ridicoulous, and some of the hardest work, always kept in check, that any sportyman has ever shown in ANY sport.

Kobe is an example to follow. Something utterly impressive.

I'm not saying Magic lacked any of that. It's just personal choice at some point.
Even numbers to me count relatively (though they can matter) cos numbers are also depending on multiple factors that have nothing to do with the athlet himself (i.e. the sourrounding casts during ye4ars, the ooponents cast during years, the coaching, the physical conditions, and more..).

But to me its Kobe. I reasoned a LOT about it.
So it's a choice of brain and heart.
Which is so apt, being Kobe: most incredible (and for me forever unparalleled) combination of heart & brain , strategy and fantasy, talent and commitment, selfcentering and leading attitude ever seen on a basketball court.

I'm young, sure (I'm off 1985) so I know people can say I don't remember or aI haven't seen others.
True. I have just through historic images, but believe this game is what I SO love to see I have been schooled well about NBA history, not even merely Lakers' one. I don't really care about hypes either (which is why LeBron will never be my cup of tea) so it's truly not those reasons driving my choice.

I stand by that.
The day Kobe will retire I hope he becomes our next coach.
I really want that.
Being THE total of basket inside and outside the court.

He can do everything. And being a role model for all sport lovers to mimic at, and trace their sporty values list. Sporty values that he encompasses at their bests in ALL ways.

Kobe... I love you :)
Thank you for being exactly the way you are: I wouldn't change A SINGLE thing.

How can you compare these diverse magnificent talents ?
Kareem , Magic , Kobe not in any specific order all played different positions
to begin with , it is a ridiculous question.
Magic possibly the greatest team player ever , Kobe a creative genius , Kareem
the greatest scorer of all time who in his old basketball age bulked up and continued to be a force to be reckoned with into his forties .
It is this type of mentality that keeps a guy like Dennis Johnson out of the hall of fame, i wonder if Fish is next ?
All those two ever did and do is win , Fish coming back was as important an acquisition the this current team has made .

I cannot understand those who say Kobe can NEVER surpass Magic as the GOAT Lakers player...what if he wins 2-3 more rings?!? That would be a higher total than Magic's 5 rings & and give Kobe more rings without Shaq than Magic had without Kareem...

I don't have a crystal ball, so I'm going with Magic. At this point it's a no-brainer. The future looks bright, but No one knows how long Kobe will play, or how many more titles or points he will rack up. If he ends up thousands of points ahead of West in career team scoring, and wins more than 5 championships it will be hard to argue against him...but we're not there yet.

he's great as of ow, he's my favorite NBA player as of now, but he still have to be consistent in his game, against Rockets, he played bad on the second half, actually, every body did. against denver, again he was not consistent, we thought Kobe might be sick or hurting, or he must have some problems, if he plays like that again the lakers will be in big trouble. The "bench mob" should always do their part. The first five players could deliver all the time, they also have some off-nights. I think he is still behind Kareem

Kobe will end up 2nd best behind only Magic

Magic Johnson is the greatest, hands down!

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson

Well, as a lifelong die-hard fan dating back to when I was in grade school in LA in the 1970s, it seems kind of sacrilege to even suggest that anyone but Magic and Jerry West could be the faces of the franchise. West is the NBA logo, for goodness sake, and was single-handedly responsible for putting together the Showtime team and the 90s dynasty, and deserves to be in any discussion like this, but I think he ends up third no matter what happens. I lived for those games during the showtime era - watched a whole lot of them live - and vividly recall what Magic meant to the Lakers and to the NBA during that time, and still does today. Magic was simply unique in NBA history in terms of his skillset, ability to run the offense, size, competitive fire, and incredibly charismatic personality. There was no one better at that, ever. I don't think there will ever be another player like him. If Magic had played another 5 seasons, there's no telling how far out of reach he would have put his assist totals (sorry, Nash and Kidd), plus he conceivably could have eaked out another ring (probably unlikely, though, with the rise of the Bulls). Kareem and Wilt are great, but neither of them are lifetime Lakers, and neither have ever been the "face" of the franchise (although I rank Wilt the overall best player in NBA history, over Jordan, and Kareem #3). BUT, in terms of greatest Laker, if Kobe spends his entire 18 or so year career with the Lakers, ends up with 5 or more rings, the top scorer in franchise history by alot (he should catch West this year), has already won one MVP, and is the 3rd overall scorer in NBA history at around 34,000 points or so (which could realistically happen if he stays healthly and keeps his game at roughly this level for 4 or 5 more seasons), how could he not be the greatest Laker ever? If he retired today, no - #2. Fast forward 5 years - sorry, Magic, will always be the face of the franchise, but I think Kobe would become the greatest Laker ever. Tough to even say, but after thinking about it, that's where I shake out.

only behind Magic..Magic is the numero uno Laker!!! He is the Godfather!! Kobe is second...Magic is the second greatest player ever behind Jordan...Kobe will finish in the top five all time.

I have this suspicion that AK & BK set up this discussion so that on Thursday,we, as Lakers fans, can remember that we have a lot to be thankful for!

I agree that it's not really the point to end up ranking these greats - it's just fun remembering and talking about them.

BTW, how badly would an All-Historical Lakers team beat any other's All-Historical team? I actually think the All-Historical Lakers team would beat the rest-of-the-league All Historical team. Man, we've had a lot of great players and great eras.

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