LeBron James reveals his all-time Lakers starting 5, includes Jerry West

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James attempted the extremely tough task of creating the greatest starting five of Lakers players ever.

James, who ended up excluding Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on his list, did create a pretty amazing lineup.

“All-time starting five for the Lakers?” James pondered. “I’m going Magic [Johnson] at 1, Jerry West at the 2, Kobe [Bryant] at the 3, myself at the 4 and Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) at the 5.”

It’s hard to argue with that group, but keeping the league’s all-time leading scorer in Abdul-Jabbar off of the list is certainly a tough pill to swallow for some Lakers fans. James justified his selections afterwards, and he even said he’d take himself out for teammate Anthony Davis.

“I mean Shaq is so dominant, man,” James said. “I mean, I love Kareem too. I can’t even front on that, but Shaq’s so dominant, we need a big cuz I’m playing the 4, so we need a big. A.D. already put himself in the Top 5? Well put A.D. in, take me out.”

The Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in NBA history, so choosing just five players is an extremely tough task.

While James hasn’t played for Los Angeles as long as some of the other players on his list did, he has made a monumental impact on the franchise.

After several seasons of struggling to even reach the playoffs, the Lakers won the NBA title in the 2019-20 season behind a NBA Finals MVP performance from James. He helped the Lakers make the playoffs in the following season as well, although they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

James also has a chance to eventually pass Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record while he is still with Los Angeles. James and the Lakers agreed on a contract extension this offseason that will keep him with the team through the 2023-24 season.

The Lakers are hoping that James can strengthen his case as one of the greatest players in franchise history by leading them on a deep playoff run in the 2022-23 season. James was fantastic for the Lakers last season, but the team failed to make the playoffs.

He and Davis both dealt with injury issues in the 2021-22 season, but it didn’t stop James from dominating when he was on the floor. James finished the campaign averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.