Is Kobe Bryant the Greatest LA Lakers Star of All Time?

Kobe Bryant has been consistently great for so long that it’s hard to ignore his place in Los Angeles Lakers history. His sustained excellence is reason enough for him to enter the conversation of greatest Laker of all time.

The Lakers franchise is unlike any other in professional sports because of its prestige. It’s captured 16 world titles and inducted arguably the biggest names in the sport into the Hall of Fame.

It’s quite an impressive list. Consequently, that makes Bryant’s rank in Lakers history quite an accomplishment.

Mind you, before getting to the five-time world champion, a look at the history of those that came before him is in order.

George Mikan was the NBA’s first superstar. He was a big man with unparalleled skills that led the Minneapolis Lakers to five titles in six seasons. Although his NBA career only lasted six campaigns, he still dominated the sport by leading the league in scoring on two occasions and rebounding twice.

Players from the old guard are often dismissed and forgotten whenever lists are formed debating their greatness vis-a-vis other athletes. In the case of Mikan though, it’s completely warranted given the short length of his career.

Not too long after Mikan retired, Minneapolis was fortunate enough to select Elgin Baylor in the 1958 NBA draft. During his 14-year career with the Lakers, Baylor changed the way many watched and played the game of basketball.

He was the first player in league history to play above the rim. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles in his third season and eventually attracted a great following given their radio broadcasts and the multiple preseason games played against the Celtics in an effort to create a rivalry.

Baylor was enlisted in the army and thus missed a fair share of games going back-and-forth from the military base to the basketball team. Nonetheless, his patriotic commi...

About the Author