Who’s the Greatest Laker?
Photographer Fred Brisker dabbles in a number of sporty activities when he’s not out in the world taking pictures. He enters tournaments of Ultimate Frisbee, follows his favorite sports team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and, when he’s up to it, plays pick-up football games. He has also started a series of blogs on all these things and more.
Fred Brisker shares his thoughts on who should be crowned the GOAT of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Only a handful of teams can say they are as successful as the Lakers franchise. For decades, the organization has dominated the league with its dozens of superstars – arguably the most in NBA history or any of the league’s professional basketball teams.
From Jerry West and Elgin Baylor to Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers have almost always had a stacked line-up led by MVP contenders. However, there are two Laker legends who stand high above the rest in team lore for their leadership, talent, charisma, and penchant for winning NBA titles.
They are Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the late Kobe Bean Bryant.
Magic Johnson was a true court leader. While playing, he had incomparable court vision and extremely high basketball IQ. He was deceptively quick and could lead a fastbreak unlike any other player before him. However, Magic’s main advantage was his height – he stood 6’9 but played like he was 5’11, and he could play just about any position incredibly well. He also had unbelievable charisma, which is why everyone loved him, including Fred Brisker.
Kobe Bryant entered the scene a few years after Magic had left. At the time, he was the youngest player ever to enter the NBA, coming straight from high school. Unlike Magic, Kobe wasn’t an instant hit, but the potential was there – and Kobe did everything to develop that potential. Kobe upped his game so much so that he became the only player comparable to Michael Jordan. He hit more game-winners than any other Laker in history.
Both Magic and Kobe gave the Lakers five championships.
Fred Brisker mentions that most fans who choose Magic as the greatest Laker have been long-time Laker fans who have seen the Showtime Lakers dominate the ‘80s. That being said, as far as stats go, Kobe had a huge edge, being the Lakers’ career leader in so many categories. However, Fred Brisker also mentions that Kobe had a much longer career.
Fred Brisker’s choice for greatest Laker would be Magic, simply because Magic could do more. But Kobe, he mentions, is a very-close second.