Los Angeles' Top 15 All-Time Athletes
Drafted by the Lakers with the first overall pick in the 1979 draft, Earvin "Magic" Johnson spent all 13 years of his NBA career in Los Angeles. He led the Lakers to five titles and became the first rookie to be named NBA Finals MVP.
Widely regarded as the greatest hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky spent eight of his 20 NHL seasons skating for the Los Angeles Kings. Gretzky netted 246 goals during his tenure and led L.A. to its only Stanley Cup Finals appearance, in 1993. More importantly, he helped popularize hockey in a part of the country that had yet to catch on to the sport.
The NBA's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spent the final 14 years of his career in a Lakers jersey. He played a key role in L.A.'s five titles between 1980 and 1988, and also helped propel UCLA to three national championships from 1967 to '69. During his time on campus, Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor.
Originally recruited as a defensive back, Marcus Allen set all kinds of rushing records in the Los Angeles area. He set a USC single-season mark with 2,342 yards in 1981 and is the Oakland (then Los Angeles) Raiders all-time leading rusher with 8,545 yards. Allen also helped the franchise win its only title during its brief stint in L.A.
Though he grew up in Italy and Philadelphia, Bryant has spent his entire career with the Lakers and may go down as the best player ever to don the purple and gold. In his 14 years in Los Angeles, Bryant has won five championships, been named to 12 All-Star teams and won an Olympic gold medal.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may never have had a more dominant pitcher than Sandy Koufax. The Brooklyn-born left-hander racked up three Cy Young Awards, three World Series championships and four no-hitters -- including a perfect game -- in his arthritis-shortened career in L.A.
A UCLA track and basketball star, Jackie Joyner-Kersee won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals over a span of four Olympic Games. A heptathlon and long jump legend, she also won gold during the World Championships in Rome in 1987, Tokyo in 1991 and Stuttgart in 1993.
Nicknamed "Mr. Clutch" for his knack for coming through when it mattered most, Jerry West led the Lakers to the NBA Finals nine times in his prolific 14-year career. A model of brilliant basketball, West remains one of only 15 players to amass 25,000 points.
Born in La Mesa, Calif., Bill Walton spearheaded the UCLA basketball dynasty during the John Wooden era. From 1971 to '74, Walton led the Bruins to a men's Division I record 88 consecutive wins, including two national championships. He also won the Naismith Award for the College Basketball Player of the Year three times.
A San Francisco native, O.J. Simpson became one of the greatest running backs in USC history, rushing for over 3,000 yards in his two years as a Trojan. In 1968, his 1,654 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns were enough to make him the the 34th recipient of the Heisman Trophy Award.
Born in Van Nuys, Calif., Don Drysdale was a mainstay in the Dodgers pitching rotation for 14 years. He compiled 209 wins over that span, and helped bring some hardware back to L.A. as well, winning one Cy Young Award and three World Series Championships while wearing the Dodger Blue.
An 11-time All-Star, Hall of Fame center Elgin Baylor ranks among the top 25 in points and rebounds in NBA history. He remained active in the L.A. basketball scene long after his playing days with the Lakers ended, serving as the Clippers GM for 22 seasons.
Former Los Angeles pitcher Orel Hershiser was known for his ability to keep opposing lineups off the scoreboard. He pitched a complete game shutout to clinch Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS in addition to tossing a record 59 consecutive scoreless innings in a season.
A Canadian native, Marcel "Little Beaver" Dionne was one of the best to ever suit up for the Los Angeles Kings. During his 12-year stay with the team, Dionne tallied 757 assists and 1,307 points, both of which remain L.A. records.
The only player in MLB history to win the Rookie of the Year Award, Cy Young Award and Silver Slugger Award in a single season, Fernando Valenzuela was a fan favorite throughout his time with the Dodgers. The lefty picked up 141 wins and six All-Star appearances during his 11 years in a Dodger uniform.