LeBron James Doesn't Include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in All-Time Lakers Starting 5

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 28, 2022

FILE - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar poses in the press room at the NBA Awards in Santa Monica, Calif. on June 25, 2018. The NBA legend serves as an executive producer and narrator of the one-hour documentary “Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America,” which airs June 19 on the History Channel. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File

LeBron James revealed his all-time Los Angeles Lakers starting five this week, and he somewhat surprisingly left off a player who many consider the greatest Laker of all time.

According to Peter Dewey of LakersDaily.com, LeBron included himself in the starting five, along with Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and the late Kobe Bryant, but he omitted legendary center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

James suggested that leaving Abdul-Jabbar off was difficult, but noted that he went with Shaq at center since he was so "dominant" during his time in Los Angeles. LeBron later suggested removing himself from the starting five for current teammate Anthony Davis to a more traditional power forward in the lineup.

Kobe and Shaq tend to receive more accolades for their accomplishments in L.A. nowadays, but Abdul-Jabbar's resume is difficult to ignore.

Kareem spent 20 years in the NBA, 14 of which were with the Lakers. After winning one championship as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, he won five more with the Lakers, giving him more than both Bryant and O'Neal.

Abdul-Jabbar was also a 19-time All-Star, six-time NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP and two-time scoring champion. Perhaps above all else, he is the leading scorer in NBA history as well with 38,387 career points, and the leading rebounder with 17,440.

James is in pursuit of Kareem's scoring record, as he is second on the all-time list with 37,062 points, and is almost certain to surpass him.

The Boston Celtics are the only team with a history as rich as the Lakers, so whittling it down to the top five players in team history is a nearly impossible task.

Abdul-Jabbar was the most glaring missing piece from James' starting five, but strong arguments can be made for Wilt Chamberlain, James Worthy and Elgin Baylor deserving a spot as well.

With or without Abdul-Jabbar, there likely isn't a team in NBA history that could beat the starting five that James assembled, which says a lot about the depth of talent the Lakers have had over the years.