Los Angeles Lakers boss Jeannie Buss was asked to list the five most important Lakers of all time and there are some pretty surprising omissions and additions.
Without a doubt, the Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most important brands in all of sports. Along with being one of the winningest franchises in NBA history, they are an organization that has had multiple dynasties and been the home for quite of few basketball legends.
The Lakers are only behind the Boston Celtics — one of the NBA’s oldest franchises — as the team with the most Hall-of-Famers in league history. That fact makes the idea of deciding on who are the best Los Angeles Lakers of all-time an interesting debate.
On a recent edition of the “All the Smoke” podcast, Los Angeles Lakers governor Jeannie Buss was asked to jump into the discourse but with a twist. Hosts and former NBA stars Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson asked her to list the five most important Lakers of all time and it led to some interesting answers.
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Buss’ family took over the franchise in 1979 and she clearly had a bias toward members of the organization during her family’s era. So, it should come as no surprise that Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Kobe Bryant were on the list. All of them won multiple championships during formidable periods in Buss’ time with the organization.
Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, and Bryant are legitimate Los Angeles Lakers and league legends. And they would likely be in most top fives, however, Jeannie Buss’ other two choices were a bit surprising. The first is Lebron James. The all-time leader in NBA scoring did help to bring title 17 to LA, but he has only been with the franchise for five years and missed the playoffs in two of those seasons.
The other choice was legendary head coach Phil Jackson. The coaching icon was a part of five Lakers championships, but it is still interesting that she chose a coach over a player and one that she was once engaged to be wed.
Along with her unique choices, the Los Angeles Lakers boss also made some notable ommissions. Hall-of-Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor were all left off her list. All four are league legends who were superstars for Los Angeles. O’Neal being left off her list is notable since Bryant does not get his first three championships without “Shaq.”