How many NBA teams can boast of having 11 of the greatest performances in All-Star history? Give up?
Only one team, the Los Angeles Lakers, can lay claim to 11 All-Star Game MVP Awards. Nine of those have worn the purple in gold while their first, George Mikan, won it as a member of the old Minneapolis Lakers.
The Lakers could certainly use some of that All-Star magic right about now. Limping into the break at 25-29 record and 3.5 games out of a playoff spot, this year's Lakers still feature two starting All-Stars in Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
For Bryant, today's game marks his team record 15th straight selection, Howard was named starting center for the seventh time in his career, this being his first as a member of the Lakers.
One need only look at some of the greatest performances in All-Star history to understand why the Lakers occupy such a special place. Of course, there have been a number of other incredible MVP games from players not with the Lakers—Michael Jordan, Isaiah Thomas, Oscar Robertson, LeBron James, George Gervin and Wilt Chamberlain all come to mind.
But, no team has come close to matching the Lakers and their 11 MVPs. The Boston Celtics, with eight, are next in line.
Just six players have collected those 11 awards for the Lakers. And what's equally fascinating is that Kareem Abdul Jabbar—the game's all-time scoring leader and all-time All-Star with 18 appearances—never won an MVP.
Ranking the top 10 L.A. Lakers MVP performances is not an easy task.
But, on this special day when the team gets to rest and its top two players lead the Western Conference into battle in Houston, picking the best of the best among the purple and gold All-Star MVPs is a guilty pleasure.