Shaquille O’Neal is a Los Angeles Lakers legend, but Lakers owner Jeanie Buss left him off her list of all-time most important Lakers.
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O’Neal spent eight seasons with the Lakers during his storied career, registering 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game while knocking down 57.5 percent of his shots from the field. He also won three straight NBA titles and NBA Finals MVPs during his time with Los Angeles.
Buss’ top five consists of Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson. It’s pretty tough to argue with that top five, as all five of those people made some type of major contribution to the Lakers.
Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the team, winning five titles along the way. He averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. He’s one of the first players people think of when it comes to the Lakers.
Abdul-Jabbar spent 14 seasons with the Lakers after six seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks. During his time with the Purple and Gold, the New York native 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. He helped the Lakers dominate much of the 1980s by winning five titles. He also became the league’s all-time leading scorer while with the Lakers, a record that was broken earlier this year by James.
James hasn’t been with the Lakers for as long as the other Lakers legends mentioned, but he has still made a powerful impact on the franchise by helping it win its first title in a decade in 2020. He led the team to the Western Conference Finals last season and easily could lead it to another title this season after all of the upgrades the team has made this offseason.
Johnson is another player who spent his entire career with the Lakers. He won five titles with the team and formed a formidable duo with Abdul-Jabbar. Today, he’s in the Hall of Fame.
Jackson never suited up for the Lakers during his NBA playing career, but he did coach the team to five titles during two separate stints with the team.
Although Buss left O’Neal off her list, she surely still appreciates his major contributions to the franchise.