The Los Angeles Lakers are an organization synonymous with excellence, and that is thanks to the 16 championship banners that hang among the rafters in Staples Center. The Lakers have had long stretches of NBA dominance, and that is because they have had some of the league's most talented players on their side. A countless number of greats have donned the purple and gold over the years, therefore choosing just a handful of Lakers for this list was no easy task, and those who would undoutedbly make this same list for other teams will be left out (Pau Gasol, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Anthony Davis, etc.).

5. Jerry West

The Logo himself, Jerry West, is sometimes overlooked when the subject of the greatest Lakers of all time comes up, and that is unfair. Though West won just one title in 1972, it was because he constantly was running into a Boston Celtics team that won nine titles in the 1960s.

West managed to make the All-Star Game every season of his career (14 times), he was the scoring champion in 1969-70, and he became the only player in league history to win Finals MVP despite losing the series (1969). If he happened to win a few more rings during his time with the Lakers, it is possible that he would receive even more recognition for the phenomenal playing career he had.

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem may have had his best seasons during the earlier part of his career as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, though Cap was still an elite talent during his days with the Lakers. The man who was unstoppable offensively due to his patented sky hook made the All-Star Game 13 times with the purple and gold, and he won three MVPs.

Abdul-Jabbar also won five championships in LA playing alongside Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and the rest of the Showtime Lakers. The Lakers would not have been the dynasty they were in the 1980s without Abdul-Jabbar's steady production over the years, even as he approached his 40s.

3. Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal's Lakers tenure was relatively short-lived, but at his height with the team he was arguably the most dominant force in NBA history. His best season from a statistical standpoint with LA was the 1999-2000 campaign. For the year, Shaq averaged a monster line of 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 3.8 assists in 40 minutes per game — he was rightfully named regular-season MVP.

O'Neal played a pivotal role in the Lakers winning three consecutive titles from 2000-2002, as he was awarded with the Finals MVP each season they won it all over that span. Many argue O'Neal was the definitive best player on those LA teams, and that is more of a compliment regarding Shaq's excellent play on both ends of the floor than a jab at Kobe Bryant.

It is quite possible that one may never again see a player with O'Neal's combination of strength, skill, and basketball IQ. It is interesting to think about if the Lakers would have more titles than they do now if Shaq decided not to request a trade to the Miami Heat in the summer of 2004.

2. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is unarguably one of the greatest scorers to ever play in the NBA. The Black Mamba currently sits at third on the NBA's all-time scoring list with a whopping 33,643 career points, and he averaged 25 points a night for his career.

Bryant will be remembered most for his unique scoring ability, though he was much more than a bucket-getter. The 20-year Laker was also an elite defender for much of his prime, as proven by his 12 selections to the league's All-Defensive teams.

Most importantly to Lakers fans, Kobe was a winner. He won five titles, with three of them coming from the early 2000s three-peat, when Bryant was paired with superstar center Shaquille O'Neal. Bryant won his last two titles in 2009 and 2010 alongside Pau Gasol. Los Angeles was able to defeat the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals in 2009, and then the Celtics in 2010. Kobe was named NBA Finals MVP both years.

1. Magic Johnson

The greatest Laker ever, Magic Johnson led the Showtime Lakers to five championships throughout the 1980s. Johnson was named to the All-Star team 12 times, won 3 MVPs, and led the league in assists four times during his 13 seasons with LA.

Along with Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, Magic is largely credited for making the NBA and basketball in general the extremely popular sport that it is today. Many consider him to be the best point guard to ever play, and his statistics certainly provide a solid argument. For his 906-game career, Johnson averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 11.2 assists per game — the highest assist average of all time.

Magic would have likely added even more accolades if he wasn't forced to retire in 1991 due to HIV. He returned for one season in 1995-96, but he only appeared in 32 games as his historic career officially came to a close.