Ranking the 5 Greatest Centers in Lakers History

Jason Schandl
Ranking the greatest centers in Lakers history, including Kareem Abdul-Jabar.
Ranking the greatest centers in Lakers history, including Kareem Abdul-Jabar. / Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in any sport. The center position, even by their lofty standards, has been an especially huge bright spot throughout their history.

With some of the game's all-time greats suiting up at the five for the Lakers, let's look at the five best centers in franchise history.

5. Pau Gasol (2007-2014)

A quiet great, sometimes underrated from playing alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol was the perfect complement to Kobe. The pair won back-to-back championships in Pau's first two full seasons with the team, and the versatile 7-footer averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game in 429 contests with the Lakers.

4. George Mikan (1948-1956)

Playing for the Minneapolis Lakers first in the BAA then the NBA, George Mikan was the first great center in franchise history. He led the league in points per game in each of his first three seasons, then in rebounds per game in each of his next two. Mikan and the Lakers won the BAA championship in his rookie year, then won the NBA championship in four of the next five seasons.

3. Wilt Chamberlain (1968-1973)

Maybe the greatest player on this list, Wilt Chamberlain only spent the twilight of his career with the Lakers. That doesn't mean he didn't dominate, though. His 19.2 rebounds per game are the most in franchise history, and he led the NBA in that stat in four of his five seasons in L.A. He only won one ring with the Lakers (1971-72), but he absolutely dominated that series, putting up 19.4 points and an unfathomable 23.2 rebounds per game.

2. Shaquille O'Neal (1996-2004)

Shaquille O'Neal was already a force before joining the Lakers in 1996, but L.A. is where he really exploded. He dominated on the offensive end, leading the NBA in field goal percentage in six of his eight seasons, averaging 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game. He was a key part of the Lakers' three-peat during his time, and in those averaging over 30.0 points and 15.0 rebounds per game in both the 1999-00 and 2000-01 postseasons.

1. Kareem Adbul-Jabar (1975-1989)

Among other things, Kareem Abdul-Jabar has tenure on his side, having played 14 seasons in L.A. The franchise was hurting for a start center after Chamberlain retired, and Abdul-Jabar more than filled the void. He arrived with a bang, averaging 27.7 points as well as league-leading marks of 16.9 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game in his first season. Playing a key role for the Showtime Lakers, Kareem won six rings in L.A. and averaged at least 20.0 points per game for 11 consecutive seasons.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.