Who are the top 5 most important Lakers? Owner Jeanie Buss draws heat for her answer

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·3-min read

Jeanie Buss is drawing the ire of fans with her list of the five most important Los Angeles Lakers of all time. It was a question the Lakers owner wasn't going to win no matter what given the team's embarrassment of riches over the years, but that didn't stop the heat

Buss appeared on this week's episode of the "All the Smoke" podcast with co-hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, who asked her for the list. 

Buss lists 5 most important Lakers 

It wasn't an easy ask for Buss and she asked for clarification of "important" when determining her list. She started with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. 

“You have to start with Kareem and Kobe and LeBron,” Buss said, via the Los Angeles Times. 

On a prompt from Magic Johnson, who she credited at another point in the show with helping her make the necessary changes to get the 17th title.

“Magic. Yes of course, Magic. Magic might be No. 1," she said. 

She struggled with the final entrant and landed on Phil Jackson, asking if he counted since he coached. Jackson and Buss were also once engaged, calling it quits in 2016. 

The two-hour podcast went up Thursday and doesn't include the top-five rundown in its chapter listings. It began spreading on social media when Lakers Daily put it out Friday night. 

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The site labeled it "most important players," which sparked extra ire about the Jackson inclusion.

Buss' list crushed for excluding Jerry West, Shaq

Notably missing from that list are Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal and Elgin Baylor. But it was West that incited Twitter since he spent his entire career with the Lakers and performed at both the player and front office level. 

The 14-time all-star is also the model for the NBA logo. During a nearly two-decade span as an executive, the Lakers added four of their 17 NBA championships.  

He recruited O'Neal, another omission. The center joined the Lakers before the 1996 season, winning three consecutive championships from 2000-2002. He's synonymous with the organization. 

Who was excluded was all the more noticeable because of who was included. Fans on Twitter took issue with Jackson on the list, mentioning that his relationship with West was rocky. 

Some questioned how LeBron James could be on it since he's in year three with the Lakers. But James brought Buss her first NBA championship as an owner, so understandably he'd be included by the executive. 

For statistical reference, the top five respectively in minutes played is Bryant, Abdul-Jabbar, West, Elgin Baylor and Johnson. In points scored it's Bryant, West, Abdul-Jabbar, Baylor and Johnson. And in value over replacement player, the list is Bryant, Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, O'Neal and James Worthy. 

Buss also disclosed there is a nine-part docuseries about the Lakers in the works. It begins when Jerry Buss purchased the team in 1979. The series is different from the HBO scripted series that Buss said the Lakers are not involved in. 

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