Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson and the 40 greatest L.A. sports athletes

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by: Mike Powell/Getty Images) /

Number 5: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar started the 1980’s still in his prime as one of the best players in the NBA. By the end of the decade, he would be an elder statesman who was part of one of the league’s greatest dynasties.

Starting in 1980, Kareem would win his record-setting sixth league MVP and help the Lakers win their first NBA title since 1972. Pairing with Magic Johnson, the two players on opposite sides of their careers would help the Lakers win five NBA titles and make eight trips to NBA Finals.

Along the way, Kareem set records for endurance finishing his 20-year NBA career as the all-time leader in points (38,387), games played (1,560), blocked shots (3,189), defensive rebounds (9,394), and career wins (1,074).

Thanks to his durability and longevity Kareem did things that have yet to be matched, including winning the NBA Finals MVP in 1985 at the age of 38, 14 years after winning his first. Kareem helped the Lakers beat the Celtics in the Finals for the first time and then at the age of 40 in 1987 they do it again this time with Kareem scoring a team-high 32 points in the series clincher.