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Monday, December 21, 2009
The 50 greatest Lakers of all time: I take a crack at it

By Brian Kamenetzky

This morning, our own Dave McMenamin revealed his list of the 50 Greatest Lakers of All Time. More specifically, the 50 Greatest Los Angeles Lakers of All Time. His #1? Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Hard to argue. Beyond the obvious statistical achievements and five championship rings, he holds a place in the city's consciousness that goes well beyond his contributions to the team. I'm willing to bet that for most Lakers fans, when it's time to play the word association game, after "Lakers" comes "Magic."

The rest of McMenamin's Top 10 (in order, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, James Worthy, Gail Goodrich, Byron Scott) seems pretty reasonable, even if some guys could be slotted in different spots. Of course, I'm not here simply to pass along the list, but to put something together myself. Because it's more interesting, and opens me up to public ridicule (call it my gift to you this holiday season). A few notes on my list, before I break out that bad boy:
And without further ado... Brian Kamenetzky's Top 50 Lakers (Minny, LA, or Tims) of All Time:

1)    Magic Johnson
2)    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3)    Kobe Bryant
4)    Jerry West
5)    Elgin Baylor
6)    Shaquille O’Neal
7)    James Worthy
8)    George Mikan
9)    Gail Goodrich
10)    Wilt Chamberlain
11)    Michael Cooper
12)    Byron Scott
13)    Jamaal Wilkes
14)    Derek Fisher
15)    AC Green
16)    Norm Nixon
17)    Vern Mikkelsen
18)    Vlade Divac
19)    Clyde Lovellette
20)    Lamar Odom
21)    Kurt Rambis
22)    Rudy LaRusso
23)    Happy Hairston
24)    Pau Gasol*
25)    Robert Horry
26)    Eddie Jones
27)    Jim Pollard
28)    Mychal Thompson
29)    Rick Fox
30)    Elden Campbell
31)    Bob McAdoo
32)    Sedale Threatt**
33)    Slater Martin
34)    Jim McMillian
35)    Nick Van Exel
36)    Cazzie Russell
37)    Elmore Smith
38)    Ced Ceballos
39)    Darrell Imhoff
40)    Mel Counts
41)    Frank Selvy
42)    Luke Walton
43)    Mike McGee
44)    Anthony Peeler
45)     Hot Rod Hundley
46) Glen Rice
46)    Dick Garmaker
47)    Whitey Skoog***
48)    Stanislav Medvedenko****
49)    Jim Krebs
50)    Dick Schnittker*****

*In another two seasons, he could be Top 10.
**Easily the best Lakers player to come out of the West Virginia Institute of Technology.
***Because he was a pretty good player, and I once saw Whitey Skoog open for REO Speedwagon and they rocked.
****For his contributions to YouTube and jokes my brother and I love to make. Plus, two championship rings.
*****Because I'm too immature to say it without giggling.

More notes:

Finally, some fun lists (via the Basketball Reference Player Register, a colossally phenomenal way to kill time) :

Top Five Great Lakers Names of All Time, in no particular order and omitting the aforementioned Skoog and Schnittker--

1) Sedale Threatt
2) Slick Leonard
3) Howie Jolliff (say it five times fast)
4) Mike Smrek
5) Corky Calhoun
6) Jack Tingle
7) Soumalia Samake
8) Cotton Nash
9) Zelmo Beatty
10) Didier Ilunga-Mbenga

And my favorite, Top Lakers Shooter of All Time When Statistical Minimums are Removed From the Equation:

Normie Glick. Never missed a shot (1-1, 1.000 FG% with the Lakers). For that matter, 1-1 for his career.

One game, 1949-1950 season. Make your shot, walk away. I respect that.