The NBA 75 and the Lakers – Lakers.com - Techy Hunters

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

The NBA 75 and the Lakers – Lakers.com

View Lakers’ NBA 75 Team

From the very start of the National Basketball Association until today, the Lakers have featured at the center of the story. All the way from George Mikan, who led the Minneapolis Lakers to the first championship in 1949-50, to LeBron James, still playing at the highest level of the game in the 19th season of his remarkable career.

The league announced its 75th Anniversary Team last week, and it featured 18 players who wore the Purple and Gold, including 12 that played at least three seasons for the Lakers:

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LAKERS ON THE NBA 75
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Carmelo Anthony; Elgin Baylor; Kobe Bryant; Wilt Chamberlain; Anthony Davis; LeBron James; Magic Johnson; Karl Malone; Bob McAdoo; George Mikan; Steve Nash; Shaquille O’Neal; Gary Payton; Dennis Rodman; Jerry West; Russell Westbrook; James Worthy

There is a big difference between what players like Magic, Kobe, West and Worthy – all of whom spent their entire careers in Los Angeles – produced for the Lakers compared to some of the players on shorter stints, like Rodman (23 games), or ‘Melo and Russ, who just put Laker gear on for the first time in October. But once you’re in the family … you’re in the family!

Only one franchise had more players on the list than the 18 to wear Lakers jerseys, their archrival, the Celtics. They had 20 on the list, if just six* since their 1980’s run, compared to 10 Lakers. Behind the two franchises with 17 titles apiece is the Houston Rockets, with 11 claimable players on the list.
*This includes Shaq’s one year in Boston, his final season, in 2010-11, and Gary Payton in 2004-05).

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Of several players who had credible cases to be on the list, four Lakers stand out: Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Gail Goodrich and Jamaal Wilkes.

Gasol not only played his crucial role as Kobe’s primary wing man in the 2009 and 2010 championship teams, but also accumulated six All-Star appearances, two All-NBA Second Teams and two All-NBA Third Team honors. Howard, currently L.A.’s backup center, played a key role in L.A.’s 2020 title, and led all players not to be selected with eight All-NBA selections, including five times on the first team. He also made eight All-Star games, four All-NBA First Defensive teams, and was the Defensive Player of the Year three times.

Goodrich and Wilkes both have their jerseys up in the Staples Center rafters, which tells us that both are in the Hall of Fame. Goodrich made five All-Star teams, and was on the All-NBA First Team in 1974. Wilkes won four NBA titles (three with the Lakers), and was a three-time All-Star, and two-time member of the All-NBA Defensive Second Team.

Another current Laker, Rajon Rondo, also has a case to be argued, buoyed by two titles, four All-Star selections, one All-NBA Third Team and four total All-Defensive teams (two firsts).

Meanwhile, outstanding role players like Michael Cooper (five championships, eight All-Defensive teams, including five firsts) and Robert Horry (seven championships) seemed to compliment star players perfectly, if they didn’t have the raw numbers to crack the list.

The next time the NBA comes out with an updated list, perhaps for the 100-year anniversary, Lakers like Howard and Gasol will have a shot. And, as history has shown us, so will a few stars that have yet to play for the Lakers, who have never been without the game’s greatest players.



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