Years as a Laker: 1975-1989
Key Achievements: Five-time NBA Champion, Three-time NBA MVP, 13-time All-Star, 6/4/0-time All-NBA, Three-time All-Defensive, No. 33 jersey retired
What can I say about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, really?
Yes, this word seems to fit. While he may not have put up astronomical numbers, you cannot doubt the impact he bestowed upon the games he suited up in. Still, he put up 22 points and nine rebounds per game in well over 1,000 games.
In addition he added three MVP awards (in '76, '77, and '80) to the three he already collected while a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
This word might just be the epitome of Abdul-Jabbar. He played in more games than any other player in NBA history not named Robert Parrish. He was beloved by Lakers fans alike, and in return for their admiration, he gave them five championships.
That word could be used in so many varieties when describing a baller like Kareem. His teams, an astounding cast that also featured Magic Johnson and James Worthy, reached eight NBA Finals during the 80s and ended up hoisting the trophy five times.
Ask anybody their version of the top five players to ever play the game, and frequently Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is mentioned.
He was quite possibly the game's most intimidating force while in Los Angeles, and even if his career was solely based on his time in California, he would still be considered an NBA legend.
He was so popular that even 6-year-old kids recognized him off of the court in movies.
I guess I should mention the competition here additionally, which is as good as any position in this entire series.
George Mikan was the first great Laker, albeit as a member during the Minneapolis years. Throughout his time in my hometown, Mikan was as polarizing as any sports figure. He revolutionized the game. The George Mikan Rule dealt with expanding the lane from six feet to 12. All in all, he averaged 23 and 13 in the great state of Minnesota.
Shaquille O'Neal enjoyed the (second) prime of his career as a member of Los Angeles' finest, and in eight seasons, he won three titles with Kobe but ultimately was dealt when he messed with the team's chemistry. Still, that's not to take away what he did as a Laker, where he established himself as the game's most dominant force in the paint.
Oh yeah, and some guy by the name of Wilt Chamberlain had a decent run here. In his final seasons in the early 70s, "The Big Dipper" added titles two and three to his already spectacular resume.