Fact: This is the best one out of all of them. Everyone stop making them. It’s only downhill from here.
Life comes at you fast.
One day you’re Jim Buss, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, heir to the throne inheriting it from his legendary dad one of the greatest front office minds of NBA history, Jerry Buss.
The next day your sister (Jeanie Buss) is firing you and your longtime co-worker, GM Mitch Kupchak, to make Magic Johnson king of every decision the Lakers make. This may have all happened in one day but this is something that has been brewing since Phil Jackson left in 2011, Dwightmare happened, an awful Steve Nash trade happened, which was all followed by being held hostage by the end of Kobe Bryant’s career. Kupchak’s fall from grace is especially remarkable. He took over in 1994, winning 5 titles as a GM, bringing Shaq to L.A., keeping Kobe in L.A., and pulling off one of the biggest lopsided trades ever in Kwame Brown, and others for one Pau Gasol.
All of that leads to this day. Magic Johnson is hired as president of basketball operations. Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are fired. Rob Pelinka is hired as GM (former agent of Kobe Bryant, current but soon-to-be-former agent of James Harden). And Magic makes his first move by dealing Lou Williams to the Rockets for a first rounder and Corey Brewer. The deal is one that needed to be made, with Lou’s contract soon to end and him getting up there in age, he was not meant to be on the rebuilding Lakers for much longer.
It remains to be seen if Magic will have success with the Lakers. He has a lot of work ahead of but he has a great core of young players to do it with D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram. At the same time, he has a few nice trade pieces to use, as evidence of the Kings wanting Ingram, Lou Will, and a couple draft picks for DeMarcus (possibly the reason for Kupchak and Buss getting fired since they were insistent on not trading Brandon Ingram.
This also presents Lakers fans with an awkward moment of legacy importance. There’s been a lot of talk of Kobe being the best Laker ever with much debate. Before Kobe, Magic was the clear best (if not most popular) Laker of all-time. With Kobe’s fresh farewell tour and legendary career, some of made the argument that he is the best Laker of all-time. If Magic brings even ONE more championship to the Lakers, does he immediately become the best (again, if not most popular) Laker of all-time. We will see.
Me personally? My Favorite Lakers All-Time
5. Derek Fisher: This will come with some bias since I was born in 1994. But hey, he’s a five-time Lakers NBA champion. There’s a fact, Kobe could NOT win a championship without Derek Fisher on the team. One of the most clutch role players of all-time. Oh yeah…Zero…Point…Fucking…Four.
4. Kareem Abdul-Jabaar: Just an absolutely legendary player. Best college basketball player of all-time. Six NBA MVPs. Six-time NBA champion. Civil rights leader. Possibly second best player of all-time behind MJ.
3. Magic Johnson: Kareem’s running mate came after him, but exceeded him in fame and eventually in leadership and talent. The dude got AIDS at a time when the subject of HIV/AIDS was very scary and unknown to America…1991…it’s 2017 and he is healthy, if not in very good shape. Unbelievable.
2. Shaquille O’Neal: To be 6-9 years old (nice) and have Shaquille O’Neal on your favorite team is the best feeling in the world. Example below.
1. Kobe Bryant: Come on, I’ve been alive for 22 years and he played on my favorite team for the last 20 of those years and won 5 championships. He’s the damn GOAT.