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March Madness Bracket Tournament for Top 16 Players in L.A. Lakers' History

Richard LeContributor IIIJanuary 5, 2017

March Madness Bracket Tournament for Top 16 Players in L.A. Lakers' History

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    Very few teams in NBA history have superstars like what the Los Angeles Lakers have accumulated over the years.

    Most of this is the product of the greatness that has been established by the Buss family, and there is no other team with as much historical depth and greatness other than perhaps the Boston Celtics

    With this being said, their legendary roster boasts a cornucopia of champions, MVPs and Hall-of-Fame caliber players.

    However, with such a multitude of great players in their history, which one is the greatest of them all?

    On the following list (in no particular order) are the players that have most often been heralded as the greatest Lakers of all time:

    1. Kobe Bryant
    2. Shaquille O'Neal
    3. Wilt Chamberlain
    4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
    5. Magic Johnson
    6. Jerry West
    7. Elgin Baylor
    8. James Worthy
    9. Jamaal Wilkes
    10. Gail Goodrich
    11. Derek Fisher
    12. George Mikan
    13. Michael Cooper
    14. Byron Scott
    15. Vern Mikkelsen 
    16. A.C. Green

    These 16 players will be pitted against each other in a March Madness-style bracket to determine which is the greatest to have ever worn the purple and gold:

     

    Sweet Sixteen

    • Kobe Bryant v.s. A.C. Green
    • Shaquille O'Neal v.s. Vern Mikkelsen
    • Wilt Chamberlain v.s. Byron Scott
    • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar v.s. Michael Cooper
    • Magic Johnson v.s. George Mikan
    • Jerry West v.s. Derek Fisher
    • Elgin Baylor v.s. Gail Goodrich
    • James Worthy v.s. Jamaal Wilkes 

    They will be judged on the following criteria:

    • Statistics
    • Individual Accolades
    • Championships (quantity and contributions to the titles)

     

    *Statistics are accurate as of March 15th.

1. Kobe Bryant vs. A.C. Green

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    Statistics

    Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.5 points on 45.4 percent shooting, 4.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and three turnovers per game thus far in his career.

    A.C. Green averaged 12.1 points on 49.4 percent shooting, 1.4 assists, 9.3 rebounds, one steal, 0.5 blocks and 1.4 turnovers per game during his career. 

    While Green has been more efficient and less turnover-prone than Bryant throughout his career, it is clear that they are in different stratospheres in terms of their importance to their respective teams.

    While Bryant has been the focal point on offense and a defensive stopper on the perimeter for the entirety of his career, Green was always more of a role player. His rebounding, longevity and durability make him the epitome of a workhorse.

    There is no real competition comparing the statistics of a superstar and a role player.

    Winner: Kobe Bryant


    Individual Accolades

    Kobe Bryant is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star, four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, four-time member of the All-NBA Second and Third teams, nine-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, and a former NBA Slam Dunk Champion.

    A.C. Green is a one-time All-Star and one-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. 

    Furthermore, A.C. Green is regarded as the NBA's "Ironman" because of his impressive streak of 1,192 straight games played. 

    Despite both players' accumulating a myriad of accolades, it is clear Bryant has accumulated many more awards, the majority of which are more prestigious.

    Winner: Kobe Bryant

     

    Championships

    Kobe Bryant has won five championships to A.C. Green's three.

    Furthermore, it could be said that Bryant was the best player on his team for two of those titles and a co-star for the other three, while A.C. Green was a hard-working role player for his three titles.

    Thus, Bryant's impact to those championship teams surpasses Green's impact. 

    Winner: Kobe Bryant


    Kobe Bryant defeats A.C. Green

2. Shaquille O'Neal vs. Vern Mikkelsen

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    Statistics

    Shaquille O'Neal averaged 23.7 points on 58.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.3 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game throughout his career.

    Vern Mikkelsen averaged 14.4 points on 40.3 percent shooting, 9.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game throughout his career.

    Because Mikkelsen played during the 1950s, steals, blocks and turnovers were yet to be recorded during his tenure in the league. 

    There is no doubt that O'Neal's statistics dwarf Mikkelsen's in every recorded category. O'Neal is the more dominant and efficient scorer, better rebounding presence and a better passer than Mikkelsen.

    The only advantage Mikkelsen has is his 76.6 percent free-throw shooting, which is substantially better than O'Neal's 52.7 percent. 

    Winner: Shaquille O'Neal

     

    Individual Accolades

    Shaquille O'Neal is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time NBA MVP, 15-time NBA All-Star, three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, eight-time member of the All-NBA First Team, two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, four-time member of the All-NBA Third Team, three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and former NBA Rookie of the Year. 

    Vern Mikkelsen is a six-time NBA All-Star and a four-time member of the All-NBA Second Team. 

    O'Neal accumulated his accolades as the dominant force of his team throughout the majority of his career, and combined with Kobe Bryant to create one of the most potent one-two punches the league has ever seen.

    Mikkelsen is a tough-as-nails player that led the NBA in fouls for three straight seasons and was known for his unrelenting nature and impressive post presence.

    However, O'Neal is perhaps the most dominant force in the paint this side of Wilt Chamberlain and is considered one of the greatest players of all time, while Mikkelsen remains relatively obscure in the public view.

    Winner: Shaquille O'Neal

     

    Championships

    Shaquille O'Neal and Vern Mikkelsen both have four championships a piece. 

    With both being the driving force behind their titles and the centerpiece of the Lakers' franchise during their tenures, there is no clear winner in this category.

    Winner: draw

     

    Shaquille O'Neal defeats Vern Mikkelsen

3. Wilt Chamberlain vs. Byron Scott

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    Statistics

    Byron Scott averaged 14.1 points, 48.2 percent shooting, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks and 1.5 turnovers per game during his career.

    Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points on 54.0 percent shooting, 22.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.

    However, blocks, steals and turnovers weren't recorded during Chamberlain's tenure in the NBA. 

    While Scott put up some decent numbers, they pale in comparison to Chamberlain's monstrous lines. Although the different eras they played in factored into Chamberlain's inflated statistics, there is no denying the disparity between the two.

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Individual Accolades

    Wilt Chamberlain is an NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 13-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, seven-time NBA scoring champion, 11-time NBA rebounding leader, seven-time member of the All-NBA First Team, three-time All-NBA Second Team and two-time member of the All-Defensive First Team.

    As a player, Byron Scott's lone accolade was as a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team. 

    It was apparent that Chamberlain was one of the most dominant forces the league has ever seen while Scott served as a very serviceable role player during his tenure. 

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Championships

    Wilt Chamberlain is a two-time champion as opposed to Byron Scott's three championships.

    However, while Scott benefited from playing alongside the great Magic Johnson as a role player, Chamberlain was the driving force behind his titles.

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Wilt Chamberlain defeats Byron Scott

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Michael Cooper

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    Statistics

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points on 55.9 percent shooting, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.6 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game during his career.

    Michael Cooper averaged 8.9 points on 46.9 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.6 turnovers per game during his career.

    Known more for his ability to be a dominant defender on the perimeter, there is no surprise that Abdul-Jabbar is a far superior statistical machine.

    However, while Cooper was a defensive stopper, Abdul-Jabbar generated his impressive statistics as the focal point of the interior offense as well as the defensive anchor in the paint.

    Winner: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

     

    Individual Accolades

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, six-time NBA MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, five-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, five-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, six-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, NBA Rookie of the Year, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, two-time NBA scoring champion, four-time NBA rebound leader, and the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

    Michael Cooper is a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year, five-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team and three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. 

    Winner: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

     

    Championships

    Although Abdul-Jabbar has one more title than Michael Cooper, both of them won five titles with the Lakers as a part of the "Showtime" era. 

    However, while Cooper was an integral part of the rotation as the defensive stopper, Abdul-Jabbar was the interior post presence as well as the defensive anchor.

    Abdul-Jabbar was the best player on both ends of the court until passing the torch to Magic Johnson, making him a much more integral part to the titles than Cooper.

    Winner: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

     

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar defeats Michael Cooper

5. Magic Johnson vs. George Mikan

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    Statistics:

    Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points on 52 percent shooting, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 3.9 turnovers per game during his career.

    George Mikan averaged 23.1 points on 40.4 percent shooting, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists during his career in an era when blocks, steals and turnovers weren't recorded.

    While Mikan averaged more points as a prototypical big man, Johnson scored much more efficiently while playing as a creator and facilitator for his team.

    Averaging a relatively high number of rebounds for a point guard while generating assists at a high rate, Johnson is one of the most versatile players in NBA history.

    Winner: Magic Johnson

     

    Individual Accolades

    Magic Johnson is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, nine-time member of the All-NBA First Team, one-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, four-time leader in assists in the NBA and two-time leader in steals in the NBA.

    George Mikan is an NBL Rookie of the Year, one-time NBL MVP and a two-time NBL scoring leader.

    Following the NBL/BAA merger into the NBA, Mikan became a four-time NBA All-Star and a six-time member of the All-BAA/NBA First Team. 

    While both garnered excellent accolades during their career, Johnson's numerous MVP awards and his longer tenure in the league grant him this victory.

    Winner: Magic Johnson

     

    Championships

    George Mikan is a seven-time champion during his tenure in the NBL and the NBA while Magic Johnson is a five-time champion as a part of the "Showtime" Lakers.

    Both players were the driving forces behind their titles. Thus, Mikan's seven titles trump Johnson's five titles.

    Winner: George Mikan

     

    Magic Johnson defeats George Mikan

6. Jerry West vs. Derek Fisher

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    Statistics

    Jerry West averaged 27.0 points on 47.4 percent shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Turnovers had yet to be recorded during West's tenure in the NBA and steals and blocks were only recorded during his final season in the league.

    Derek Fisher has averaged 8.6 points on 40 percent shooting, 2.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks and 1.2 turnovers per game.

    While Derek Fisher is a legendary Laker whose contributions revolved around his leadership intangibles and defense during his earlier years, his statistics don't hold a candle to West, one of the most prolific scorers in the history of the league.

    Winner: Jerry West

     

    Individual Accolades

    Jerry West is an NBA Finals MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA scoring champion, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team and member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. 

    Derek Fisher is an NBA Shooting Stars champion during the 2007 NBA All-Star Game.

    Winner: Jerry West

     

    Championships

    While Derek Fisher was a key part of five titles as opposed to Jerry West's one, it is clear that Fisher was the definition of a role player while West was the focal point on both offense and the perimeter defense of his championship team.

    However, there is no denying that five titles surpasses one, and the sheer number of Fisher's title wins him this victory.

    Winner: Derek Fisher

     

    Jerry West defeats Derek Fisher

7. Elgin Baylor vs. Gail Goodrich

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    Statistics

    Elgin Baylor averaged 27.4 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. However, during his tenure in the league the NBA did not record turnovers, steals and blocks. 

    Gail Goodrich averaged 18.6 points on 45.6 percent shooting, 3.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks and 2.5 turnovers per game. 

    While Baylor and Goodrich were excellent scorers and versatile perimeter players, Baylor scored substantially more points while rebounding at the same clip as a big man. While Goodrich had marginally better assist numbers as a shooting guard, it is apparent Baylor was the much more versatile player on the court. 

    Winner: Elgin Baylor

     

    Individual Accolades

    Elgin Baylor is an 11-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year and 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, 

    Gail Goodrich is a five-time NBA All-Star and member of the All-NBA First Team, 

    Winner: Elgin Baylor

     

    Championships

    While Elgin Baylor is an accomplished superstar and one of the greatest players of all time, he has won zero titles as opposed to Gail Goodrich's lone championship. 

    Winner: Gail Goodrich

     

    Elgin Baylor defeats Gail Goodrich

8. James Worthy vs. Jamaal Wilkes

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    Statistics

    James Worthy averaged 17.6 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 2.0 turnovers per game during his career.

    Jamaal Wilkes averaged 17.7 points on 49.9 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.2 blocks and 2.1 turnovers per game during his career.

    While Worthy got his points as a versatile scorer with an undeniable clutch gene, Wilkes was equally as effective with a deadly mid-range game. 

    Furthermore, both players are almost equally efficient while doing many of the other things, such as rebounding and passing, similarly well. 

    Winner: draw

     

    Individual Accolades

    James Worthy is an NBA Finals MVP, seven-time NBA All-Star, two-time member of the All-NBA Third Team and a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team. 

    Jamaal Wilkes is a three-time NBA All-Star, NBA Rookie of the Year, two-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

    While both have had very similar accolades, Wilkes had the distinction of being recognized for his defensive proficiency.

    However, Worthy was recognized for his all-around play on the All-NBA team as well as playing on more All-Star teams. Furthermore, his NBA Finals MVP is arguably the most prestigious individual award this side of the league MVP.

    Winner: James Worthy

     

    Championships

    James Worthy has won three NBA titles as opposed to Jamaal Wilkes' four titles. They both won one of those titles with one another as teammates. 

    While both were very productive members of their teams, Wilkes' four titles gave him the edge over Worthy.

    Winner: Jamaal Wilkes


    James Worthy defeats Jamaal Wilkes

Quarterfinal Round: Kobe Bryant vs. James Worthy

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    Statistics: 

    Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.5 points on 45.4 percent shooting, 4.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 3.0 turnovers per game thus far in his career.

    James Worthy averaged 17.6 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.7 blocks and 2.0 turnovers per game during his career.

    While Worthy was a capable and versatile scorer that was cold blooded in the clutch, there are few players that can compare to Bryant as a fundamental scorer and fourth-quarter assassin—Worthy is not one of them.

    Winner: Kobe Bryant

     

    Individual Accolades

    Kobe Bryant is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star, four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, four-time member of the All-NBA Second and Third teams, nine-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, and a former NBA Slam Dunk Champion.

    James Worthy is an NBA Finals MVP, seven-time NBA All-Star, two-time member of the All-NBA Third Team and a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

    Winner: Kobe Bryant

     

    Championships

    Kobe Bryant's five titles surpass Worthy's four and he has arguably been a much more important factor to those titles than Big Shot James.

    Winner: Kobe Bryant

     

    Kobe Bryant defeats James Worthy

Quarterfinal Round: Shaquille O'Neal vs. Elgin Baylor

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    Statistics

    Shaquille O'Neal averaged 23.7 points on 58.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.3 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game throughout his career.

    Elgin Baylor averaged 27.4 points on 43.1 percent shooting, 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. However, during his tenure in the league the NBA did not record turnovers, steals and blocks.

    While Baylor has averaged more points per game during his career, O'Neal was the much more dominant offensive threat throughout his career and the more efficient scorer. 

    However, despite his greater scoring prowess, Baylor proved to be the more proficient passer and rebounder on a per-game basis. 

    Winner: Elgin Baylor

     

    Individual Accolades

    Shaquille O'Neal is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time NBA MVP, 15-time NBA All-Star, three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, eight-time member of the All-NBA First Team, two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, four-time member of the All-NBA Third Team, three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team and former NBA Rookie of the Year. 

    Elgin Baylor is an 11-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year and 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, 

    Winner: Shaquille O'Neal

     

    Championships

    Shaquille O'Neal has won four titles as opposed to Baylor's lack of a title due to the Boston Celtics' dominance during his era.

    Winner: Shaquille O'Neal

     

    Shaquille O'Neal defeats Elgin Baylor

Quarterfinal Round: Wilt Chamberlain vs. Jerry West

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    Statistics

    Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points on 54 percent shooting, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

    However, blocks, steals and turnovers weren't recorded during Chamberlain's tenure in the NBA.

    Jerry West averaged 27.0 points on 47.4 percent shooting, 5.8 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.6 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Turnovers had yet to be recorded during West's tenure in the NBA. Steals and blocks were only recorded during his final season in the league.

    Jerry West was a very versatile scorer who did everything on the court. Alongside his dominance on the offensive end, it's hard to argue against 30.1 points and 4.4 assists with 22.9 boards per contest.

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Individual Accolades

    Wilt Chamberlain is an NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 13-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, seven-time NBA scoring champion, 11-time NBA rebounding leader, seven-time member of the All-NBA First Team, three-time All-NBA Second Team and two-time member of the All-Defensive First Team.

    Jerry West is an NBA Finals MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA scoring champion, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, four-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team and member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. 

    While both have had a myriad of individual awards throughout the years, Chamberlain's four league MVP awards along with matching West's single NBA Finals MVP separate the big man from the shooting guard. 

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Championships

    Both players were integral parts to their championships. However, West only won one while Chamberlain boasts two championships under his belt.

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain


    Wilt Chamberlain defeats Jerry West

Quarterfinal Round: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Magic Johnson

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    Statistics

    Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points on 52 percent shooting, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 3.9 turnovers per game during his career.

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar averaged 24.6 points on 55.9 percent shooting, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.6 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game during his career.

    While Abdul-Jabbar is perhaps the most lethal scorer in the history of the league this side of Michael Jordan, Johnson was no slouch on offense either while creating for his teammates in a way few players have been able to imitate. 

    Johnson's versatility in every aspect of the game goes up against Abdul-Jabbar's offensive dominance and defensive proficiency. 

    Winner: draw

     

    Individual Accolades

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, six-time NBA MVP, 19-time NBA All-Star, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, five-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, five-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, six-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, NBA Rookie of the Year, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, two-time NBA scoring champion, four-time NBA rebound leader, and the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

    Magic Johnson is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, nine-time member of the All-NBA First Team, one-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, four-time leader in assists in the NBA and two-time leader in steals in the NBA.

    While both have lists of individual accolades befitting of their legendary statuses, what separates Abdul-Jabbar from Johnson is that he has double the amount of NBA MVP awards.

    Furthermore, while both players were recognized on the All-NBA First Team, Abdul-Jabbar was also recognized as one of the best defensive players in the league with his selections onto the All-Defensive First Team as well.

    Winner: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

     

    Championships

    Even though Abdul-Jabbar won six titles, one more than Johnson, it is apparent that Magic's three NBA Finals MVP awards with the Lakers as opposed to Abdul-Jabbar's one NBA Finals MVP with the Lakers (his first came with the Milwaukee Bucks) meant Magic was the driving force for those titles.

    Furthermore, during those championship runs, it was clear Abdul-Jabbar had firmly passed the torch to Johnson and played more of a supplementary role with the Lakers at that point. 

    The biggest consideration here is that Abdul-Jabbar had an arguably Hall-of-Fame career with the Bucks prior to his days with the Lakers.

    As he joined the Lakers, it could be argued that the titles he won with them could be attributed more to Johnson's role as the franchise player rather than Abdul-Jabbar's contributions. 

    Winner: Magic Johnson


    Magic Johnson defeats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Semifinal Round: Kobe Bryant vs. Magic Johnson

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    Statistics

    Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.5 points on 45.4 percent shooting, 4.7 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 3.0 turnovers per game thus far in his career.

    Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points on 52.0 percent shooting, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 3.9 turnovers per game during his career.

    While Bryant is a deadly scorer who can put the ball through the net in every way imaginable, Magic Johnson's play and even the statistics show that he was better at facilitating for his teammates.

    Furthermore, Johnson's efficiency surpasses Bryant while he assisted, rebounded and had more steals on a per-game basis.

    Winner: Magic Johnson

     

    Individual Accolades

    Magic Johnson is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, nine-time member of the All-NBA First Team, one-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, four-time leader in assists in the NBA and two-time leader in steals in the NBA.

    Kobe Bryant is a two-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-Star, four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team, four-time member of the All-NBA Second and Third teams, nine-time member of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, and a former NBA Slam Dunk Champion.

    Both of these players have accumulated so many individual awards that it is hard to separate them from one other.

    While Johnson does have one more Finals MVP and two more league MVP awards than Bryant, it could be argued that Johnson had consistently more help than Bryant, who definitely did not have as much assistance following Shaquille O'Neal's departure to Miami

    Winner: draw

     

    Championships

    Both players have five championships apiece and both played with dominant big men as co-stars during their title runs. 

    While Kobe Bryant won two Finals MVP awards as a part of those five titles, Johnson separates himself from the Black Mamba by winning three Finals MVP awards during his title runs.

    Winner: Magic Johnson

     

    Magic Johnson defeats Kobe Bryant

Semifinal Round: Shaquille O'Neal vs. Wilt Chamberlain

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    Statistics

    Shaquille O'Neal averaged 23.7 points on 58.2 percent shooting, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.3 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game throughout his career.

    Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points on 54 percent shooting, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

    Both O'Neal and Chamberlain can be considered the two most dominant interior forces in the history of the league.

    However, despite the differences in eras, when it comes down to pure numbers, Chamberlain's big-man numbers are second to none. 

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Individual Accolades

    Shaquille O'Neal is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, one-time NBA MVP, 15-time NBA All-Star, three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, two-time NBA scoring champion, eight-time member of the All-NBA First Team, two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, four-time member of the All-NBA Third Team, three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team and former NBA Rookie of the Year.

    Wilt Chamberlain is an NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 13-time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, seven-time NBA scoring champion, 11-time NBA rebounding leader, seven-time member of the All-NBA First Team, three-time All-NBA Second Team and two-time member of the All-Defensive First Team.

    Shaquille O'Neal and Wilt Chamberlain both boast an impressive resume in terms of individual awards. Although Chamberlain has three more league MVP awards, O'Neal has accumulated two more NBA Finals MVP awards.

    Furthermore, the differences in the decades in which they played and the lack of real competition other than Bill Russell for Chamberlain in his era can explain the disparity between the amount of times the two led the league in scoring. 

    However, Chamberlain is able to distinguish himself from O'Neal via his two All-Defensive First Team selections, while O'Neal has only ever made it onto the Second Team. 

    Winner: Wilt Chamberlain

     

    Championships

    Shaquille O'Neal's four championships trump Wilt Chamberlain's two championships. Furthermore, he was the Finals MVP for three of his titles, proving his ability to lead a team as its franchise player.

    Winner: Shaquille O'Neal


    Wilt Chamberlain defeats Shaquille O'Neal

Finals: Magic Johnson vs. Wilt Chamberlain

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    Statistics

    Wilt Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points on 54 percent shooting, 22.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.

    Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points on 52 percent shooting, 11.2 assists, 7.2 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 0.4 blocks and 3.9 turnovers per game during his career.

    While Chamberlain's numbers are astronomical and stands out as perhaps the most impressive stat line ever seen, Johnson combats these with great all-around numbers that show his versatility and effectiveness at every aspect of the game.

    Winner: draw

     

    Individual Accolades

    Magic Johnson is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP, 12-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, nine-time member of the All-NBA First Team, one-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team, four-time leader in assists in the NBA and two-time leader in steals in the NBA.

    Wilt Chamberlain is an NBA Finals MVP, four-time NBA MVP, 13 time NBA All-Star, NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA Rookie of the Year, seven-time NBA scoring champion, 11 time NBA rebounding leader, seven-time member of the All-NBA First Team, three-time All-NBA Second Team and two-time member of the All-Defensive First Team.

    While Johnson has two more NBA Finals MVP awards, Chamberlain has won one more league MVP award.

    Other than that distinction, their awards are almost identical across the board and are pretty much equal in every aspect.

    Winner: draw

     

    Championships

    Magic Johnson's five championships surpass Chamberlain's two, and his three NBA Finals MVP awards validates his contributions to those titles

    Winner: Magic Johnson


    Magic Johnson is the greatest Laker of all time.

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