Who Will Be Next in the List of Storied Laker Centers?

Adam HartAnalyst IAugust 5, 2009

1989: Kareem Abdul- Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers makes a free throw during a game.  Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn  /Allsport

The Lakers have had a long list of great centers. So, since 2004, when Shaq left, I have been wondering, who will be next on the list.

It all started in 1947, when George Mikan first took the floor for the then Minneapolis Lakers. That game started a string of nine seasons where he won a crazy seven rings. During this span he scored over 10,000 points and grabbed over 4,000 boards. When he retired he was considered the best player on earth.

Mikan was the NBA's, and the Lakers' first great big. He started and Laker legacy of dominant centers over the years.

After he retired, in 1956, the Lakers went on a short down fall, that is, until Wilt "the stilt" Chamberlain came around in 1968. Wilt had already played with the 76ers and the Warriors and had broken many records, including most points in a game (100). The Big Dipper had been on a recent downfall, although he had recently won his first NBA ring.

When he arrived, the Lakers hadn't been playing very well, and he instantly turned them into contenders. In 1972, he led LA to a championship, and left the team shortly after, in 1973; he retired in 1974.

Wilt retired with the most points scored in a career (31,419) and was widely considered the best player ever to pick up a basketball.

Wilt was the first completely dominant player, which is shown by some of his outrageous stats.

Just two years later, they got another great big, a player who had already made a name for himself in LA, a man who had recently won his first of six rings. Yes, that man was Kareem-Abdul Jabbar (born Lewis Alcindor).

As soon as Kareem arrived, the team started winning, Kareem won six championships and six MVP's in 14 seasons with the showtime Lakers. His "skyhook" dominated opponents day in and day out. He retired as one of the greatest players ever, in 1989.

His record for most career points still stands unbroken at 38,387. Kareem was a true scorer and aΒ  true warrior, and also, more than anything, a true winner.

After Kareem left, in 1989, the Lakers realized that they had a legacy going. So, in 1996, LA signed former Magic player, Shaq O'Neal. The signing of Shaq, and later, the trade for Kobe Bryant, led LA to three rings, in 2000, 2001, and 2002.

After disputes with Kobe, Shaq bolted for Miami in 2004, and was then traded to Phoenix before landing recently in Cleveland.

So, since then the Lakers have had some good talent up front, with Pau Gasol and Vlade Divac.

I think that if Andrew Bynum could become great, but personally, I don't think any other Laker will be as dominant as these three.


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