Just like they did 25 years ago, the NBA announced their 75 greatest players ever Thursday. If you are looking for someone to argue about the inclusions or the snubs, this is not your article. There are plenty around. This is to highlight the fact that 16 former or current Lakers made the list. The league's greatest franchise has great representation on the list.
There are 17 players on the list who at some point have worn Purple and Gold. Here are the retired Lakers on the list.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, George Mikan, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Dennis Rodman, Jerry West, James Worthy, and Elgin Baylor.
Players like Malone and Payton of course didn't spend a lot of time or legacy years in LA, but they were lakers nonetheless.
As for current players, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, and Russell Westbrook were all included on the list. Davis and Westbrook perhaps could be considered surprises, whereas James and Anthony were locks to be on the list.
James was gracious when asked about his inclusion.
“It’s very humbling and rewarding to be a part of a fraternity like the NBA. If your name is called and even if sometimes your name is not called, getting the opportunity to put on an NBA uniform. It is the ultimate for a lot of us. A lot of kids who grew up watching the sport, loving the game of basketball and being able to put on an NBA jersey and play on an NBA floor is the most gratifying, humbling, rewarding, blessed thing ever.”
James being gracious is a humble attitude, considering the fact that when James' career is over, he could be remembered as the greatest to ever play.
Names like Davis and Westbrook are a little surprising. Westbrook's body of work is probably close enough to argue about, but he's certainly worthy of consideration at least. Davis is in the middle of his prime, and perhaps that's what the NBA took into account when including Davis. When Davis is done, his career accolades are likely to be a lot bigger than they are now.
It's encouraging to see so many Lakers on a list of the greatest.