No one enjoys Twitter quite as much as Mychal Thompson. With a handle like @champagneuts, the Laker legend clearly knows how to have fun on the platform.
Most of the time, Thompson uses Twitter to pose thought-provoking questions like why there are handkerchiefs but not foot-kerchiefs or to debate what kind of sort of horse paraphernalia Mike Conley Jr. should have received for winning the H-O-R-S-E tournament.
But every so often, Thompson dives into some more weighty subjects, and last week, he revealed his all-time Laker team. It’s easy to see he means business because there is only one spelling error in this entire tweet. Sorry, Pau.
MY All Time Laker team...Kareem Baylor Worthy Magic Kobe...— Mychal Thompson (@champagnennuts) April 25, 2020
BENCH? Shaq Wilt West Wilkes Goodrich Pow and Coop...Thats IT,right? 12 guys...THOSE are the 12...
Thompson’s starting five includes Magic Johnson at point guard, Kobe Bryant at shooting guard, Elgin Baylor at small forward, James Worthy at power forward, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center.
There is very little room for debate here. Johnson, Worthy, and Abdul-Jabbar were at the core of three title-winning teams for the Lakers, and Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar won two more together before the franchise drafted Worthy. Bryant has five titles of his own, and though Baylor doesn’t technically have any, he is probably the greatest player in NBA history never to win a title.
There have been some fantastic big men in Lakers lore, but Abdul-Jabbar is the all-time leading scorer in NBA history and owner of the most iconic shot the league has ever seen. The only possible quibble with Thompson’s five is that Jerry West is more deserving than Baylor — he is the logo, after all. However, Baylor was unlike anyone the league had seen to that point, the athletic wing who gave the Lakers dynamism on both ends, and it’s easiest to give him the nod as a true forward.
West slots in on the bench anyway, as does the most fearsome backup center combination known to mankind in Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain. Michael Cooper (whose Hall of Fame candidacy is Thomspon’s latest pet project on Twitter) and Gail Goodrich round out the backcourt, and Jamaal Wilkes and Pau Gasol are the bench forwards.
Thompson’s list is almost incontrovertible. The ten players who have had their jerseys retired by the Lakers are all represented, and Gasol is likely to be next up in the rafters. Cooper perhaps gets short shrift historically because he was a defensive specialist, but the man won Defensive Player of the Year as a guard. That is a historical oddity. He was an eight-time all-Defense selection, including five on the first team to go along with his five titles. Cooper belongs.
The real question now is if any current Lakers have a chance of ever cracking this lineup. Anthony Davis is probably the best bet, considering how many years he has left, though history tells us to never doubt LeBron James. If either of those two players starts to make their way onto this list, rest assured that would be a fantastic discussion to have on Twitter with Mychal Thompson.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @sabreenajm.