Ranking the most influential Lakers players of all time

Magic Johnson rookie card (Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Magic Johnson rookie card (Photo by: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /
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Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)
Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images) /

5. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal’s path to becoming a Lakers icon started outside of the draft, but his influence on the floor was immeasurable. His combination of height, strength, and quickness made him one of the most formidable centers in NBA history and transformed the position. He plowed past opponents, unleashing thundering dunks and devastating plays in the paint, and his domination was unstoppable.

Even though the Lakers did not choose Shaq in the draft, his presence in Los Angeles was a turning point in history. His influence was seen right away, and from 2000 to 2002, he helped the squad win three straight titles. His arrival changed the Lakers’ identity and restored their status as a powerful force.

Here are a few of Shaq’s accolades as a Laker:

  • 3 NBA Championships
  • 3-time NBA Finals MVP
  • 2000 NBA MVP
  • 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist
  • 1999-2000 Scoring Champion (the last big man to ever win it)
  • 8-time All-Star
  • 2-time All-Star MVP (2000 & 2004)
  • 8th in the all-time scoring list (31,419)
  • One of the top 50 & 75 greatest players ever.

Shaq’s impact grew along with his playing career. Also, transitioning into entertainment and business was no easy task, becoming the first big man to do so with success. His magnetic presence and larger-than-life persona smoothly transferred to music, television, and movies. His venture into entrepreneurship also demonstrated his business savvy and creativity, solidifying his image as a diverse success story.

The impact of Shaquille O’Neal goes beyond basketball. In addition to dominating as a player, he changed how huge men are portrayed in both entertainment and business. He has left a lasting legacy that continues to motivate both players and businesspeople.

A Lasting Lake Show Legacy

Finally, the Los Angeles Lakers have had the good fortune to enjoy the abilities of a variety of influential players throughout their history.

The Lakers have been molded into the legendary team we know today by these players, who range from Magic Johnson’s mesmerizing style of play to Kobe Bryant’s unrelenting pursuit of greatness, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s unrivaled talent, Shaquille O’Neal’s commanding presence, and Jerry West’s enduring impact. Their influence extends well beyond the floor and leaves a lasting impression on Lake Show’s history.

Next. 22 players the Lakers gave up on too early. dark