The history of the Los Angeles Lakers is littered with some of the absolute greatest players to have ever played the game. Standing out while playing for such an incredible organization is always tough, but Kobe Bryant found a way, and Jeanie Buss doesn’t want you to forget about that.
On a recent appearance with Mark Willard and Bill Plaschke on Fox Sports Radio, Buss was asked about a potential concern from Kobe fans and others who might think LeBron James’ presence on the roster might challenge the former’s Lakers legacy. She was having none of that.
“You talked about Kobe’s legacy, no one will ever touch Kobe’s legacy for what he did with the Lakers, the fact that he stayed with the team for 20 years and won us five championships. To even question Kobe’s legacy or what he means to Lakers fans, it’s ridiculous.”
In terms of just playing career, Jeanie makes an almost indisputable point. Kobe should go down as having had the greatest on-court career in Lakers history.
But if you start taking the entirety of players’ time with the Lakers (including post-retirement), Kobe’s ranking can start coming into question compared to other guys. To be fair, Jeanie didn’t seem to be questioning that, but let’s rank them for fun anyways.
Personally, if we’re counting post-retirement work and general impact on the game, I’d go with Magic Johnson, Jerry West, then Kobe and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the Lakers’ Mount Rushmore.
Magic winning five titles as a Laker, being the driving force of the most exciting period of Lakers basketball and his impact on the community as an inspiration to the millions afflicted by HIV should all be taken into account. And that’s before you get to him potentially helping to bring the Lakers back to relevance and signing that LeBron guy.
West and Kobe is certainly close, but West’s role in building both the Showtime (though Bill Sharman deserves his share of the credit here) and three-peat teams even after the historic playing career as a lifelong Laker gives him a slight nod over Kobe (to me) until we see Bryant come back and impact the organization beyond his playing career. West also coached the Lakers back before Magic Johnson, something even I was surprised to find out.
Kobe is slightly ahead of Kareem because he spent his entire career in purple and gold but boy it’s close.
I’m sure no one has anything to argue here but just in case, make sure you tag Harrison.