Blogtable: Kobe’s place among Top 5 Lakers of all-time?

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Kobe’s place in Top 5 Lakers hierarchy? | What will Kobe’s legacy be? | What was Kobe’s defining moment? | Do you see coaching in Kobe’s future?



VIDEOKobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar talk on GameTime after a game in 2012

> Where does Kobe rank in your Top 5 Lakers of all-time?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Kobe ranks second on my top-5, all-time Lakers list. And since I give bonus points to those who spent their entire career with the franchise in question, my list is 1) Magic Johnson, 2) Kobe Bryant, 3) Jerry West, 4) Elgin Baylor and 5) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kobe’s talents, drive, capabilities and accomplishments are second to none but Magic helped to revive both the Lakers and the league, is the point guard on my by-position all-time NBA team (Kobe is a backup) and remains my word-association response when I hear “Laker.”

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comTwo decades, five rings, 17 All-Star teams. It’s certainly enough to put Kobe into the conversation and I’ll respectfully listen. But Kareem and Magic are at the top of my list. One is the all-time leading NBA scorer with six MVPs and the other was the spark that lit the flame on five championship teams, nine Finals appearances in 12 years and began the modern era of the Lakers as the league’s most dominant franchise. I’ll put him a tie for third with Jerry West.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Second or third. I have always said Jerry West is No. 1 because he was a positive for the organization at most every level, a superstar as a player and executive and good in a brief run as a coach. After that, it’s Kobe and Magic or Magic and Kobe. Years after this question became commonplace, I still don’t know how to split 2 and 2A. Johnson was a great player, a leader and merely had a hand in turning the NBA into a global brand. Their ruthless pursuit of winning is similar. They both had to fit in with other Hall of Famers. There is no wrong answer. After that, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain follow in some order. I would put Wilt a tier below because he only had five seasons with the Lakers. Then it’s a Chamberlain-Shaquille O’Neal debate for the start of the second five.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: Here’s the order: 1. Magic, 2. Kobe, 3. Kareem, 4. Jerry, 5. George Mikan. I give Kobe the edge on Kareem based on Laker longevity (Kareem started in Milwaukee) and Kobe owns more titles than West, although as players, they rate very close in my opinion. Nobody touches Magic. He’s Mr. Laker.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Second, behind Magic Johnson and ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West and either Elgin Baylor or James Worthy. Longevity puts him ahead of Kareem and West, but I can’t put him ahead of Magic, who also played his entire career in L.A., had a much better winning percentage (.728 vs. .635), and was more of a galvanizing force, for both his teammates and the Lakers’ fanbase.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: As great as Kobe has been over the course of his career, I’ve always been a believer that Magic Johnson is the all-time iconic Laker, over Kobe, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq and any of their other Hall of Famers. Magic remains No. 1 on my list with Kareem a close second and Kobe third. Being in the top three with two of the greatest five players in NBA history speaks volumes about the legacy Kobe has built during his unbelievable 20-year run in purple and gold.

Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Kobe and Magic Johnson are tied for first. They can’t be compared directly – head-to-head – because their eras were so different. Some will downgrade Kobe’s first three championships because he had Shaq, but can’t the same be said of Magic’s partnership with Kareem throughout the early 1980s? This is going to make more sense in a few years, when it will be easier to put Bryant’s career into perspective, but for now I don’t feel right choosing between him and Magic.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog Same as I had him last time — I think he’s the second-greatest Laker of all-time. But even if he won a title this season, I don’t know if he would leapfrog Magic Johnson, the greatest Laker in my estimation. (Then again, if Kobe could win a title with this Lakers team, he might be the greatest NBA player of all-time.)

17 Comments

  1. ShooterByNight says:

    No disrespect to Magic, but come on he is not the Greatest Laker! He would be second. Y’all say Kobe had Shaq…Who did Magic have? Kareem, James Worthy, etc. Furthermore, His resume/stats isn’t better than Kobe’s or his longevity with the team. His ability to pack arenas home or away isn’t like Kobe’s either. As for MVP’s we all no that if it wasn’t for the rape allegations Kobe would have more MVP’s also. Therefore, what reason would you put Magic over Kobe?

  2. Jdub455 says:

    5th… Behind magic, jabbar, west and shaq

  3. Michael says:

    A lot of people are saying Shaq is in the top 5. There is no way that is true. Shaq was a great player, but whenever he got in a bad situation he left instead of facing it head on. Here is my top 5. 1) West, 2) Kareem, 3) Magic, 4) Kobe, and 5) Worthy. Whoever said Shaq obviously is not fully aware of the other great legends that have been Lakers. Others in consideration, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Byron Scoot, and even Fisher.

  4. Silverio says:

    1. Kobe 2. Kareem 3.Jerry West 4. Elgin Baylor 5. Magic

  5. Kasper says:

    Come on, look at the numbers also, which is more important than how many years one has played for one franchise. Seriously, how can any of you have Shaq over Kobe. Shaq won three finals mvp in a row, and were the most dominant player on one of the most dominant teams ever. He’s numbers in those years very absolutey ridicilous, and more important he was efficient. Kobe Bryant were and extremely talented player, but overall he was just t inefficient, took to many stupid shoots, and didn’t make his teammates that much better, which we saw after Shaq left. And he shouldn’t have been the 2010 finals mvp. That should have been Pau Gasol. Kobe Bryant played awful in the 2010 finals. The list should be 1. Kareem, 2. Shaq, 3. Magic, 4. Wilt Chamberlain, and Kobe sneaks in at 5, because he was more talented than West.

  6. Shooter By Night says:

    First, let me start by congratulating KB on his announcement. Second, all of these men where great! Lastly, KB is The All Time Greatest Laker! Probably, the all-time best basketball player (KB and MJ). If we can agree with that, how is he not the best all time laker? Magic isn’t close to MJ, but Kobe is. Stats, Longevity, Rings, Franchise Impact= Kobe Greatest Laker!

  7. Mark from Bay area says:

    To me Kobe left bad taste for the organization at the end.
    1) Magic
    2) Kareem
    3) West
    4) Kobe
    5) Shaq

    Glad his career long selfishness is finished.
    He should have retired 2 years ago when he was hurt, instead of hurting organization for recruit of superstars.

  8. Michael M says:

    Try to name a more selfish player in any sport all time than Kobe Bryant.

    I can’t come up with anyone even in that conversation…

  9. purpngold says:

    I fell in love with the game of basketball by watching Magic. He excited the world with his entertaining approach to the game. Then came the young phenom, who reignited the spark in me as a Laker faithful after nearly a decade of dry spell. Kobe was leaping 7 footers, posterizing any one who got in his way and tallying up 81 points in a single game. Both Laker greats in their own time and rightfull nba hall of famer and hall of famer to be. Both have won 5 championships and played their entire career with the same team. This a close one and two. In the end I will have to say that Magic edges Kobe for the top spot, but only by a hair.

  10. Michael M says:

    George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Jamal Wilkes, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis,

    All great Laker players that played team basketball.

    Kobe’s not even in my top 10.

  11. Cheddar john says:

    For me i think Kobe is definitely one of the greatest to ever play this game! But in a lakers listing Kobe would be my 5. 4. Magic Johnson 3. Shaq 2. Wilt 1. Kareem. This is the truth in L.A.!!!

  12. ty says:

    A lot of the reasons for them placing where kobe is, is just plain stupid.

  13. Mihail Donchev says:

    Kobe over Magic all day!

  14. El Kadur says:

    I believe Kobe has the numbers to be among the top 3, but like most people have said, Magic was the spark that lit the fire. Magic to me had more presence along his team in championships, that’s a plus. and represented an era where the Lakers were the most dominant team in the league. Magic was a true team player, while being a leader from his very first season. Kobe learned with time to blend with the team and think more like a teammate rather than being as selfish as he was from the beggining. With a bit more of team spirit, Kobe would have made more championships, placing him as not only the greatest Laker ever, but the greatest NBA player of all time.

  15. JP says:

    1) kobe
    2) magic
    3) kareem
    4) west
    5) shaq

  16. Hard to say. Toss up between him, Magic and Kareem. All were fantastic Lakers.