Los Angeles Lakers: 50 Greatest Players in Lakers History (Updated 2023)

(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
29 of 50
Los Angeles Lakers
Happy Hairston #52. (Photo by: Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) /

Greatest Lakers of all time: 22- Happy Hairston

  • 6 seasons, 394 games, 1 title
  • 15.2 PPG
  • 12.4 RPG

Even though he played most of his Laker years alongside the great Wilt Chamberlain, Happy was still a rebounding machine. He ranks 4th in RPG, 19th in PPG and 22nd in total points, and played an important role on the Lakers first LA championship team.

Unfortunately, Happy is not well-remembered. On a recent television show, Shaq O’Neal confessed he didn’t know who Hairston was.

For those readers who don’t recognize his name either, Hairston was the Lakers starting power forward in the early 1970s. For much of that time he played with Chamberlain and the backcourt of Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. The fact that he played with those excellent scorers and still managed to score over 15 points is impressive.

At 6-7, 225, Happy wasn’t particularly big, but he was known as a hard-nosed defender. He was also an important part of the 1971-72 Lakers team that set the standard of 33 straight wins and captured the franchise’s first LA championship.