L.A. Lakers: Will Pau Gasol Join Kobe Bryant in the NBA Hall of Fame?

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant has had the type of career that almost guarantees that he will be a first-ballot NBA Hall of Fame selection. But can Bryant's teammate Pau Gasol eventually join him in that hallowed class?

It's doubtful that Gasol will enjoy the same first-ballot status as Bryant and other Laker greats like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have. But Gasol does compare favorably to another Laker great who became a Hall of Fame player.

Former Lakers forward James Worthy played on those same Showtime teams with Kareem and Magic, and in 2003, "Big-Game" James joined his teammates in the NBA Hall of Fame.

Worthy was named as one of the NBA's top 50 players of all time, but he did not make the Hall of Fame when he was first eligible in 2000.

Worthy played 12 seasons for the Lakers and averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, three assists and he shot 52 percent from the field throughout his career. Gasol just completed his 11th NBA season, and so far he has averaged 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and Gasol has shot 53 percent from the field for his career.

Worthy has four more All-Star appearances than Gasol, and he also earned one more ring playing beside his higher-regarded teammates Magic and Kareem. But Worthy was also the third scoring option on a team that included what are arguably two of the NBA's top three players of all time.

Without question, Magic is the greatest point guard to ever grace an NBA court and a definite top five all-time player. And while some may argue that there have been better centers than Kareem, his status as the NBA's most prolific scorer speaks for itself.

Not to take anything away from Worthy—who was truly a gifted player—but playing with legends like Magic and Kareem makes the game much easier.

Bryant still has an outside shot of being regarded as a top five player once his career finally ends,...

About the Author