A ranked list of the 10 best Lakers of all time: Who is the greatest to ever wear purple and gold?

A ranked list of the 10 best Lakers of all time: Who is the greatest to ever wear purple and gold?

Steve Njuguna
updated at September 9, 2023 at 10:39 AM

The LA Lakers are the joint most successful team in the history of the NBA. Their 17 championships are only matched by the Boston Celtics. Over the years, many great players have donned the purple and gold. Today, we discuss the ten best Lakers of all time.

Showtime Lakers
FROM LEFT: Kurt Rambis, Michael Cooper, James Worthy, Magic Johnson and Mychale Thompson huddle during a game in 1987. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE
Source: Getty Images

The glitz and glamour of Los Angeles attract all the best players in the league to play for the Lakers. The history of the franchise also means great prestige for anyone who gets to don the jersey.

Who are the best Lakers of all time by position?

Here is a ranker of the best-ever Lakers team by position. This team is not limited to one era but transcends different generations.




Shaquille O'Neal 1996-2004)

Small Forward

Elgin Baylor (1958-1971)

Point Guard

Magic Johnson (1979-1991)

Power Forward

Pau Gasol (2008-2014)

Shooting Guard

Kobe Bryant (1996-2016)

Which is the best Los Angeles Lakers team of all time?

The best-ever Lakers squad of all time was the ' Showtime Lakers' that played between 1979-1991. They won 5 titles during that period with their skillful style of basketball. Some critical members included Magic Johnson, Bob Mcadoo, James Worthy, Byron Scott, and AC Green.

Who is the best Lakers player right now?

Lebron James is the best Lakers player right now. He has won four NBA championships, one being with the Lakers in the 2020 NBA bubble.

Lebron won the 2020 NBA title in the bubble
Lebron won the 2020 NBA title in the bubble. Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE
Source: Getty Images

Top 10 best Lakers of all time

In this list, we are ranking the best Lakers of all time. This list also includes the period when the LA Lakers were known as the Minneapolis Lakers.

10. Michael Cooper (Playing Career: 1978-1990)

Michael Cooper was the defensive backbone of the 'Showtime Lakers'. He won 5 NBA championships with them and won the NBA's defensive player of the Year award in 1987. Cooper later ventured into coaching, winning two WNBA titles and the WNBA Coach of the Year award in 2000.

Michael Cooper was part of the Showtime team
Cooper was known for his great defence, Image BY NBAE
Source: Getty Images

9, George Mikan (Playing Career: 1946-1954)

Mikan was part of the early post-World War 2 Lakers. He won 5 titles with the Lakers and is considered a pioneer of the franchise's success.

George Mikan is one of the best lakers point guards of all time
Mikan (center) dribbles through opponents during a playoff game in 1954. Photo by NBAE
Source: Getty Images

8. Wilt Chamberlain (Playing Career 1958-1973)

Wilt is genuinely considered one of the best Lakers centers of all time. He played for the Lakers between 1968-1973, winning a title with them in 1972. He passed away in 1999.

7. James Worthy (Playing Career: 1982-1994)

Known for his distinctive playing glasses, Worthy was another member of the Showtime squad. He won 3 championships over the 80s with the team. He was nicknamed ' Big Game James' due to his ability to turn up in crucial situations.

Worthy is one of the best lakers power forwards of all time
James Worthy dunks a ball during his LA days. Photo by Andy Hayt /Sports Illustrated
Source: Getty Images

6. Shaquille O'Neal (Playing Career: 1982-2011)

Shaquille, AKA 'Shaq' or ' Big Diesel', was known for being the most dominant NBA center of his era. he won three titles in the early 2000s, forming a dynamic duo with teammate Kobe Bryant. Shaq is currently an NBA analyst with TNT Sports.

Kobe and Shaq show their rings
Shaq (right) and Kobe (left) were one of the greatest NBA duos. Photo By David S. Sherman/NBAE
Source: Getty Images

5. Elgin Baylor (Playing Career: 1958-1972)

Baylor is one of the best NBA players of all time. He was an 11-time All-Star. He later became a successful NBA coach and executive. Baylor passed away in 2021, aged 86.

Elgin is one of the best Lakers shooting guards of all time
Baylor is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Photo by NBA
Source: Getty Images

4. Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Playing Career: 1969-1989)

Born Ferdinand Alcindor Jr., Kareem Abdul Jabbar, also known as 'The Dream', is one of the greatest players ever. He won the NBA MVP award a record six times. He won 5 NBA titles with the Lakers in addition to one he had won with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kareem is considered one of the best NBA centers of all time
Kareem is the NBA's second-highest ever top scorer after Lebron James. Photo by Patrick McDermott
Source: Getty Images

3. Jerry West (Playing Career: 1960-1974)

Jerry West is well known for being the player the NBA logo is based on. Jerry won the NBA title in 1972 player and further won 7 more titles as a coach and executive. He has also worked for organizations such as the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers.

Jerry West is one of the best point guards in Lakers history.
Jerry West has 8 NBA rings in several capacities. Photo by Allen Berezovsky
Source: Getty Images

2. Magic Johnson (Playing Career: 1979-1991)

Earvin Johnson Junior, AKA 'Magic,' is a legend of the Lakers franchise. Magic was the centrepiece of the 'Showtime' era, winningfive5 championships. His duel with Boston Celtics ace Larry Bird was one of the biggest attractions of the NBA in the 1980s.

Magic is one of the most famous Lakers of all time
Magic Johnson (right) and Larry Bird (left) were the Nba's biggest rivalry in the 80s. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE
Source: Getty Images

1. Kobe Bryant (Playing Career 1996-2016)

Kobe, also known as 'The Black Mamba', is the best Laker of all time. Kobe won five titles with the Lakers between 1996 and 2016. He also won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012 for the United States of America. He passed away in a helicopter crash in January 2020.

The Lakers continue to do well in the NBA. The current squad has world-class players like Lebron James and Anthony Davis. There is no doubt that in a few years, there will be some new names added to the list ranking the best Lakers of all time.

Best Lakers of all time
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

READ MORE: How many seasons did Michael Jordan play? His greatest season, career stats, championships, MVPs, All-NBA teams

Sports Brief recently detailed Michael Jordan's career. Many basketball fans consider Jordan the greatest player of all time.

Jordan was also very good at dunking and even won an all-star dunk contest. Click on the link above to learn more about his career.

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Steve Njuguna
Steve Njuguna is a media professional with close to a decade of experience in the sports media industry. He has previously worked as a sports journalist with Bamba Sports TV, Vybez Radio and The Nairobian newspaper.
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