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

November 23, 2009 |  1:43 pm

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?