With Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey heading to the rafters at Staples Center on Tuesday night, the Lakers have now retired the uniforms of nine great players.
Shaq joins great company, as these nine are all NBA legends, all dominant players who made an impact not just on the franchise, but on the league as well: O’Neal, West, Johnson, Goodrich, Worthy, Baylor, Chamberlain, Wilkes and Abdul-Jabbar.
Most franchises can’t boast more than a handful of players of this caliber in their history, let alone nine. Could you imagine making a starting lineup out of these players? Well, we did.
We’ve come up with our attempt at a starting lineup out of these “Fine Nine.” But these things are hardly easy or obvious, so we’d like your take.
Check out our starters, then leave your own lineup in the comments section below. Tell us what position each player would play, and why. And as always, thanks for taking part.
Point guard: Magic Johnson
Magic is the greatest point guard in NBA history. He was also one of the greatest leaders, so he’s the guy we want running our team. Besides, as a pass-first guard, Magic would know how to keep our team of superstars involved and happy.
Shooting guard: Jerry West
Can you imagine West with a 3-point line? He averaged 27 points a game without one! And so clutch, too.
Small forward: Elgin Baylor
Baylor had great end-to-end speed, could score with a variety of moves (27.4 points per game for his career), and was also versatile (13.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists). Kobe can wait.
Power forward: James Worthy
He’s naturally a small forward, but on this team we’re opting for speed, so the 6-foot-9 Worthy will have to be the 4. No player was better at finishing on the break, and with a wide assortment of post moves, he could get it done inside.
Center: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
With apologies to Shaq and Wilt, we’re going with the possessor of the sky hook, the greatest offensive weapon in NBA history, which helped him become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He was also a great defender and incredibly durable.
Now it's your turn!
You can follow Bob Harkins on Twitter at @bharks.