Ten players, 11 numbers and one microphone. There are plenty of retired Lakers jersey numbers.
There are banners in the rafters at Crypto.com arena marking the retired numbers of each of the Los Angeles Laker greats. They are some of the greatest basketball players (and announcers) the sports world has ever seen.
Let’s go down the list and remember why these numbers will never be worn again in purple and gold.
Kobe Bryant: 8 and 24
Who else but Kobe could have both his numbers retired by the Lakers?
Bryant won five NBA titles with the Lakers, three while wearing No. 8 and two while wearing No. 24. He played 20 years with the franchise and is the leader in games played (1,346), minutes played (48.637), three-pointers, free throws and steals.
Who could ever forget his 81-point night against Toronto in 2006? Bryant saw his numbers retired in 2017 and died in a tragic helicopter crash in 2020.
Wilt Chamberlain: 13
Wilt ‘The Stilt’ is still the NBA’s all-time leading rebounder (23,924). He only played five seasons with the Lakers and wasn’t the same scorer he was early in his career as he deferred to defense. Remember, Wilt averaged 50.4 points in his third year in the NBA.
Chamberlain was part of the incomparable Lakers team that won 33 games in a row in the 1971-72 season and won the NBA title. Chamberlain played the last game of those finals with a broken hand, a forgotten piece of NBA lore.
Elgin Baylor: 22
Baylor started with the franchise in Minneapolis and came west with the Lakers. He’s still the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds (11,463). Oh, and did we mention he was a forward? Baylor changed the game as a leaping, small forward/combo guard who could do anything. He was an 11-time All-Star. His career points per game average of 27.4 points is third most all-time in NBA history.
Gail Goodrich: 25
Goodrich wore two numbers with the Lakers (11 and 25), but the franchise hung 25 in the rafters in 1996.
He’s a hometown kid who played at UCLA and then with the Lakers for nine seasons over two stints. He’s a bit forgotten now, but he was a key piece on that 1972 championship team with Wilt and West and is still eighth all-time in franchise history with 13,044 points and eighth in assists.
Magic Johnson: 32
Magic had his number retired in 1992, and then, of course, came back and played for the Lakers in 1996 for 32 games. He ranks first in Lakers history in assists and triple-doubles (138). He’s fifth in points (17,707) and sixth in NBA history in total assists.
Magic won five NBA titles and was league MVP three times. A generational talent as a point guard with the vision of an Avenger.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 33
The Captain. For at least another season, Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer (LeBron James should pass him this season). Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA titles: five with the Lakers, and one with the Bucks. He led the Lakers in scoring for 11 straight years. He’s second in franchise history in games played, minutes played and field goals. He’s No. 1 in blocks and offensive rebounds.
Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook was an indefensible shot. His number was retired during his final season in 1989.
Shaquille O’Neal: 34
The Big Diesel helped the Lakers return to glory by joining with Bryant to win three NBA titles in a row (2000-2002). He played 19 seasons in The League, eight with the Lakers and left an imprint. Shaq is seventh in franchise history in points.
In NBA history, his 28,596 points has him eighth all-time. He led the NBA in scoring twice.
James Worthy: 42
Big Game James won three NBA titles with the Lakers (1985, 1987 and 1988). Laker fans will never forget his performance in the 1988 NBA finals against the Detroit Pistons. It’s the kind of thing that will get your number retired.
Worthy’s 12-year career was spent entirely in Los Angeles. He ranks sixth in franchise history in points (16,320). His number was hung in 1995.
Jerry West: 44
West saw his No. 44 go up to the top of the then-Forum in 1983. His career is the stuff of NBA legends. He spent 14 years with the Lakers and was a 14-time All-Star. His career average of 29.1 points a game in the playoffs is fifth all-time. That’s more than LeBron. That’s more than Kobe.
West only won one NBA title — the lousy Celtics were in his way forever — but how sweet it was in 1972. Then as an Executive, he helped the Lakers win again in the 80s, and made the trade for Kobe in the NBA Draft.
Jamaal Wilkes: 52
In 1980, everyone remembers Magic having to play center his rookie year in Game 6 of the NBA finals when Abdul-Jabbar got hurt, but it was Wilkes who also made a huge impact scoring 37 points as the Lakers won the crown over the 76ers.
Wilkes was Worthy before Worthy. He played eight years with the Lakers and won four NBA titles in his career (three with LA, one with Golden State). His number is retired by both the Lakers and UCLA.
Chick Hearn (Microphone)
The legendary maestro of the microphone started as Lakers broadcaster in March of 1961. He had a streak of calling 3,338 games in a row. He was the first broadcaster inducted in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2003.
Hearn died at age 85 in 2002. The Lakers have a bronze statue of him outside Crypto.com arena and Hearn has a start on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His banner has an old-style microphone in place of a number.
Who should the Lakers honor next?
Pat Riley: Riley played for the Lakers for five years and was also part of that NBA championship team in 1972, albeit in a supporting role. However, Riley’s impact on the franchise as a coach is impossible to dismiss. Perhaps the Laker management is miffed over Riley’s success as a coach with the Knicks and Heat.
Pau Gasol: Do the Lakers win those NBA titles without Gasol? Probably not. He spent seven years with the Lakers, giving them a pass-first center with great vision.
LeBron James: James will certainly be honored in Cleveland and Miami when his career is done. He has won an NBA title with the Lakers and is entering his fifth season. Wilt is the shortest-tenured player on this list (five seasons). I would think LeBron’s 23 will get lifted one day.