Ranking every NBA Finals MVP in Los Angeles Lakers history

Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit: PAUL BUCK/AFP via Getty Images)
Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit: PAUL BUCK/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

3. Kobe Bryant

Finals MVP: 2009, 2010

Possibly the most beloved Laker of all time, Kobe Bryant spent all 20 seasons of his illustrious career in Los Angeles. When he landed with the franchise in 1996, Shaquille O’Neal had just signed with the Lakers in free agency, which created a legendary pairing from day one of Kobe’s career.

While they had their differences, Kobe and Shaq were a near-unstoppable duo on the court together. After a few years went by, the pairing became a lethal threat in the NBA playoffs and ended up winning three straight championships from 2000 to 2002.

In the long and storied history of the Lakers franchise, a three-peat had not been achieved since the team was located in Minneapolis back in the 1950s. To this day, no team has won three titles in a row since the Shaq and Kobe Lakers.

But even in their domination in the early 2000s, Kobe was unable to secure a Finals MVP award. As the relationship between the two deteriorated, Shaq left for Miami while Kobe became determined to win a championship without him.

It was not until 2009 that Bryant finally achieved his goal. When the Lakers defeated Dwight Howard and the upstart Orlando Magic, Kobe wreaked havoc in putting up 32.4 points per game, earning his first career Finals MVP. But the next year was likely even sweeter for the lifelong Laker.

In 2010, LA avenged their loss in the 2008 Finals to the Celtics by taking down Boston in seven games. After the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead, Bryant led the way for the Lakers to win the next two games and close out Boston on the Staples Center floor. Kobe finally buried the memories of the haunting 2008 Finals series and cemented himself as one of the greatest Lakers of all time with his second Finals MVP.