During the latest episode of the “All The Smoke” podcast, Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes asked Jeanie Buss to pick the five most important Lakers ever. What the 59-year-old team owner said is still drawing the ire of fans.
It’s one of those questions there isn’t a right answer. And Buss knew it – she immediately asked for clarification of “important” when determining her list. But judging by the fans’ reaction, she didn’t get it.
You have to start with Kareem and Kobe and LeBron.Jeanie Buss, All The Smoke
There’s an obvious name missing, and Jackson wasted no time pointing it out. “Magic. Yes of course, Magic,” said Buss, crediting the Lakers legend for helping her make the necessary changes that led to the organization winning its 17th NBA championship. “Magic might be No. 1.”
For the final name on the list, Jeanie went with Phil Jackson, legendary coach who orchestrated the Kobe-Shaq Lakers on their way to three straight NBA titles in the early ’00s. Thus her five was complete, prompting criticism from the Lakers nation. And for the obvious reasons.
She failed to include the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor, and Jerry West, giving the edge to LeBron’s three-year run with the organization instead. Fans were especially upset with the omission of the Logo, who spent his entire playing career with the Lakers, reaching iconic status. He then built the Lakers dynasty as an executive, signing Shaq and trading for an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant. But despite his Hall of Fame run as a player and two-decades-long run as a team’s general manager, West failed to make the cut.
That’s the challenge when ranking individuals from arguably the greatest organization in NBA history – some guys will inevitably be left out. But we can all agree on one thing; LeBron should’ve been that guy this early into his run with the Lakers. And that’s not a knock on him. But as of today, Shaq and West both did more for the Purple and Gold.