LA Lakers: 5 Best Duos in Franchise History
Some of the greatest duos the game of basketball has ever seen have donned purple and gold jerseys.
While it may be like deciding which one of your children you love the most, I have ranked the five best duos in team history.
Which duo is No. 1?
Let’s take a look.
5. Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
In the middle of the 2007-08 season, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. Instantly, Gasol and Kobe Bryant became one of the most formidable one-two punches in the league.
After only four months of playing with one another, the duo led the Lakers to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004. Although the team came up short against the Boston Celtics, Lakers fans were very hopeful the surprising appearance in the finals was a sign of things to come.
The fans’ hopes were answered, as the Lakers won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
Given their talent and experience playing with one another, Gasol and Bryant should continue to be a formidable duo going forward.
4. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain
The duo of Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West would likely be higher on the list had Chamberlain joined the Lakers sooner in his career.
By the time “The Stilt” came to Hollywood, he was past the prime of his career.
However, Chamberlain and West would lead the team to the 1972 championship, the franchise’s first since moving to Los Angeles.
3. Jerry West and Elgin Baylor
Jerry West and Elgin Baylor were the original dynamic duo for the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the duo is viewed by many to be more tragic than celebrated.
Baylor and West failed to win one championship together despite making seven appearances in the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately for Baylor, he was forced to retire just as the 1971-72 season started, right before the team went on a record-setting 33-game win streak en route to winning the franchise’s first championship since moving to Los Angeles.
2. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
Despite a childish, tumultuous feud, it’s impossible to not consider Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal one of the greatest duos in league history.
In Shaq, the Los Angeles Lakers had an all-time top-five center in the prime of his career. Meanwhile, Kobe was at his most athletic, establishing himself as one of the game’s most talented young stars.
Shaq and Kobe would lead the Lakers to three consecutive championships (2000-2002).
Considering that when the duo was on the same page they were such a force to be reckoned with, many wonder what kind of damage Kobe and Shaq could have done if they had actually liked one another.
1. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Not only are Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the greatest Los Angeles Lakers duo of all time, they could very well be the best duo in NBA history.
The combination of power and grace in Kareem’s post game and the pure “magic” of Johnson’s ability to run an offense gave birth to the "Showtime" era in Los Angeles.
Along with the Boston Celtics, the Kareem and Magic-led Lakers dominated the 1980s, winning five NBA championships.