Editor’s Note: Updated in February 2023
The Lakers have had the most outstanding parade of stars in NBA history. No team has had more superstars than the Lakers over the past 70+ years.
The top 13 Lakers are all in or will be voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The entire top 10 includes players in the upper echelon of the Hall, and eight of those 10 achieved their greatest success with the Lakers.
Are any current Lakers ranked in the 50 best? Which players made the list from the many different eras: Minneapolis, the early LA years, the mid-1970’s, the Showtime era, the 1990s, the Kobe years and the more recent times?
This is the criteria used:
- Only a player’s achievement with the Lakers counts. It doesn’t matter what he did before or after he played for them.
- He must have played a minimum of 150 games with the Lakers. (Exception: two current Lakers who are projected to easily reach the 150-game minimum). So “one-hit wonders” and short-time success stories are ineligible, including players such as Karl Malone, Glen Rice, Adrian Dantley and Cedric Ceballos.
- The rankings recognize factors such as longevity with the team, statistical excellence, peak performance and contributions to team success.
- No favoritism was given to more recent Laker players over those from the more distant past.
On with the countdown. All statistics shown are strictly for Lakers regular season unless otherwise noted.
Greatest Lakers of all time: 50- Tommy Hawkins
- 6 seasons, 454 games
- 9.0 points per game
- 5.7 rebounds per game
The Hawk played the first three and last three of his 10-season NBA career with the Lakers. At 6-5, 210 pounds, he could play both forward positions.
Tommy was used primarily in a reserve role but filled in capably as a starter, especially when his good friend Elgin Baylor was injured. He was best known for his athleticism and jumping ability.
Hawk was a reliable, consistent scorer whose points per game ranged from 7.9 to 11.6, typically playing about half the game. He also had a reputation for being an excellent defensive player.
He remained in LA long after his playing career ended, working in broadcasting and then for the Dodgers. Tommy, a die-hard Laker fan, was famously filmed cheering the team on to victory over the Celtics in the title-clinching 1985 game as watched it at home on his TV while draped in his old Lakers jersey.