The Los Angeles Lakers have had arguably more talent than any team in NBA history on their roster over the years. From Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal — and now LeBron James and Anthony Davis — their history is littered with superstars.
So perhaps it isn’t a surprise that when Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum were asked to name their top players in NBA history, they named mostly Lakers. Still, it’s fun to note, if for two different reasons.
In Antetokounmpo’s case, Lakers fans (and likely the team itself) are probably looking for any reasons to link the biggest potential 2021 free agent star to the purple and gold, and he delivered during an Instagram Live session from the other night:
Giannis' top 6 NBA players of all time:— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) March 27, 2020
LeBron, MJ, Kobe, Magic, Shaq, Kareem pic.twitter.com/CSAoblQ0eg
Other than Michael Jordan, you would be correct to note that all those guys are Lakers.
Tatum isn’t likely to be linked as some sort of Lakers target in the same way for quite some time, as he’s under Boston Celtics team control — currently due to his cheap rookie contract, and then as a restricted free agent — for at least the next several years. Still, it’s pretty funny that a Celtics young players’ top-five players in NBA history includes precisely zero Celtics:
Mike, bron, bean, Magic, Kareem— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) March 26, 2020
Now, is some of that owed to the Celtics only having won one title in the last 30 years despite propping themselves up as a historic powerhouse? Yeah, probably, as after all, every Celtics fan will tell you that Tatum is just
19 22 years old. The Celtics just haven’t been that relevant for much of his lifetime, and the Lakers have been, so that’s fair to note for Boston fans wanting a counterpoint to this.
Anyway, as noted above, this is likely mostly due to how much star power the Lakers have boasted over the years. Still, that historical relevance and being seen as where basically all the stars play is part of what’s appealed about the Lakers to the best players in the league over they years, and if Antetokounmpo and Tatum’s top players lists are anything to go off of, it seems that cycle is poised for a chance to continue with the next generation of stars as well.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.