Shaquille O’Neal will be remembered as one of the most feared and powerful centers in NBA history, but where does he rank among the elite list of Laker legends which include Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson, and others? Team S.U. debates whether Shaq makes the top-5 list of all-time greatest players in Lakers history.
Does Shaquille O’Neal Rank Among the Top-5 Greatest Lakers of All-time?
Sauping R. Arguello – No doubt about it. The only factor that may hold him back is due to the fact he played with other teams (Orlando, Miami, Phoenix, Boston, Cleveland) but he was the most dominant big man (during his prime) in the history of the NBA. He won three consecutive titles alongside Kobe Bryant, who in my opinion is the greatest Laker ever.
Next in line is Magic Johnson who some may consider the Greatest Laker as well. After, I got Kareem Abdul Jabbar who is the all-time leading scorer. In fourth place I got the logo, Jerry West. Shaq comes in a close fifth, beating out another Laker great, Elgin Baylor.
Keith Rivas – Yes, he does. But not only for his play — it’s a two way street. Shaq’s the kind of player that loves nothing more than to get into a mental battle with his opponent. Doesn’t matter who it is. Other players let their play talk for itself but Shaq loves to rub it in. Really, though, what’s not to love about the big guy? My other four all-time great Los Angeles Lakers are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher.
Ben B. – Tough Question. I’d say yes. The Lakers have had tons of tremendous players in their time, and Shaq is definitely one. Shaq has played for tons of teams in his day, but played 8 years as a Laker, so he has definitely played long enough to qualify. He was a very dominant No.2 option which puts him up there. Ultimately, I’d put him over Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt. So yes, Shaq is a top-5 Laker.
Jr. Williams – He ranks among the top-10 scorers in Lakers history and was a crucial member of the dynasty which brought the organization their first three-peat since the 1952-1954 Minneapolis Laker era. He is a 3-time NBA Finals MVP, and in his prime averaged well over 27 points and 11 rebounds per game. O’Neal was a game changer, his power, strength, and dominance were unmatched, and we probably won’t see a player like him for a long time. Offensively, he was limited and lacked a true arsenal, yet he remains a top-5 Laker in my book, and could have been higher if he would have not bounced around the league so much. My list – No1. Kobe Bryant, N0.2 Magic Johnson, No.3 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, No.4 Jerry West, and Shaquille O’Neal rounds off the N0.5 spot as the all-time greatest Lakers.