First of all, this was all brought to light by several current NBA stars listing their own individual Mount Rushmores.
First to make the statement was LeBron James:
Several other players followed suit, but most notably was Laker legend himself, Kobe Bryant:
But, when pressed, Bryant went with "Magic, Bird, Michael and Russell. That's impossible to do four, though, man. Come on. That's crazy."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 17, 2014
Putting together the Lakers’ Mount Rushmore is no simple task. Some of the greatest basketball players of all time have donned the purple and gold at some point throughout their careers.
With a whopping 21 Hall of Famers and a total of 16 championships, the Lakers are arguably the most historic franchise in the history of the NBA.
So, who should be on the Mount Rushmore of the Los Angeles Lakers?
The criteria I used for picking the four players to make the famous monument were based upon a combination of career stats as a Laker, championships and each player's individual Laker legacy.
Just Off the List
With so many great players to choose from, there was bound to be a couple of legends left off of the list.
Chamberlain would probably be on the official monument for the Lakers had he stayed in Los Angeles for a little longer. He led LA to only one championship, but he remains the all-time leader in rebounds per game with a ridiculous 19.2 RPG average.
There is no question that "Wilt the Stilt" Chamberlain is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but he comes up just a little shy of making the final cut of Laker greats.
In Shaq’s eight seasons as a Laker, he averaged 27 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 2.5 BPG, ranking second in Laker history in each of those categories.
The “Big Diesel” helped lead the Lakers to three NBA championships and collected the Finals MVP in every one of those triumphs. He’ll go down as arguably the most dominant big man the game has ever seen.
My Official Mount Rushmore of the Los Angeles Lakers
Not only is he a Laker icon, West is an NBA icon as well. Literally, his picture is the official logo of the NBA.
During his 14-time All-Star career, the “Logo” won just one championship, in large part due to the dominance of Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics in that time period.
Arguably, even more impactful than his playing career as a Laker, was his career after basketball as a scout and general manager. He helped and guided the Lakers to four NBA championships as a front office executive and won two NBA General Manager of the Year Awards.
Without question, Jerry West belongs on the Los Angeles Lakers’ Mount Rushmore.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar revolutionized the way the game is played in the post. Nowadays, countless ballers in gyms all across the world yell out “Kareem!” as they throw up hook shots in attempts of mimicking the Laker legend.
In his 14 seasons in Los Angeles, Jabbar averaged 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He won five championships as a Laker during one of the most famous eras in history, the “Showtime” era, starring alongside Magic Johnson and James Worthy.
With 13 All-Star appearances as a Laker and three NBA MVP awards, Kareem Abdul Jabbar undoubtedly is one of the greatest players of all time and certainly belongs on the Mount Rushmore of the Lakers.
Depending on whom you talk to, Magic Johnson is either the first or second greatest Laker of all time.
As a Laker, Magic was a 12-time All-Star, three-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA Finals MVP and won five championships. He also holds the NBA’s all-time assists per game record with a ridiculous 11.2 APG career average.
He’s the fifth leading scorer in Lakers’ history and the absolute leader in assists and assists per game.
Magic was instrumental during the “Showtime” era, cementing himself as arguably the greatest point guard to ever play the game and, undoubtedly, landing himself a permanent spot on the Lakers’ Mount Rushmore.
Even though he hasn’t officially hung up the sneakers yet, there is a permanent spot reserved on the monument for Kobe Bryant, being that he is arguably the greatest Laker to ever don the purple and gold.
Each one of the players listed above have very impressive stats and hold numerous records and achievements, but when it comes down to all-time Lakers’ records, Kobe Bryant is second to none.
Bryant holds the franchise’s all-time records in points scored, games played, field goals made, three-point field goals made, steals, minutes played, and free throws. And he is in the top-five of nearly every other relevant category. These are incredible achievements based on the numerous amounts of all-time greats that are behind him on those lists.
Without question, the Black Mamba has a permanent spot on the Lakers’ monument.
It is an incredibly difficult task to narrow down the list of Laker legends to just four, but in the end, my official Mount Rushmore of the Los Angeles Lakers is occupied by Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.