Pau Gasol had his Los Angeles Lakers’ career cemented among some of the franchise’s greatest players of all-time when they retired his No. 16 jersey – which he wore for 7 seasons between 2008 and 2014. He averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks in 429 games played in a Lakers’ jersey.
His ceremony took place during halftime of the Lakers’ March 7 matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies – another team he spent 7 seasons with. While he never won a championship with the Grizzlies, he did win two of them with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. He had a strong message for the fans that supported him:
“I’m just overwhelmed to see the faces here, all of you. It’s been my honor to wear this jersey, to play for this franchise and to help this team. I would have never in a million years believed a day like this could come. It just tells you to never say never. Just push yourself every day to be the best that you can be.”
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Gasol is the 12th Los Angeles Lakers’ Legend to Have His Jersey Retired
Not many Los Angeles Lakers’ legends can say they had their jersey lifted to the rafters, with Pau Gasol being just the 12th player in Lakers’ history to have his jersey retired – there are 13 total numbers retired since Kobe Bryant had both his No. 8 and No. 24 retired. Now, Gasol’s jersey hangs right next to Kobe’s.
And that’s fitting, considering Kobe and Pau thought of each other as brothers. “It means so much, and obviously with Kobe up there, it just adds something meaningful and powerful and sad and happy and painful and joyful. It’s a lot of things,” Gasol said during his speech – with Kobe’s wife in attendance.
Kobe and Pau had quite a 7-year span together and it’s no surprise to see them in the rafters now that their careers are over – it’s a shame Kobe wasn’t there physically to witness the moment, but he was there in spirit. And they’ll now be remembered every single time the Los Angeles Lakers’ take home court.
To commemorate the special moment, let’s take a look back at the 12 Los Angeles Lakers’ legends to have their jersey retired through the years – starting with the man of the hour, Pau Gasol.
12. Pau Gasol – No. 16
Pau Gasol was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, but had his rights traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. On February 1, 2008, Gasol – who was in his 7th season with the Grizzlies at the time – was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he teamed up with Kobe Bryant.
Gasol made an immediate impact for the Lakers, ultimately playing in 27 games for the team the rest of that 2007-08 season. He helped make the Lakers a championship team again, ultimately winning the 2009 and 2010 titles alongside Kobe – who admitted the team wouldn’t have won without Gasol.
Gasol spent 6.5 seasons with the Lakers. During that time, he averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.4 blocks in 35.7 minutes per game (429 games). After being made a free agent, Gasol spent two seasons with the Bulls before spending his final three years with the Spurs and Bucks.
11. Kobe Bryant – No. 8 & No. 24
Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the No. 13 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, but had his rights traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that sent Vlade Divac to the Hornets. Bryant became the first guard to be drafted out of high school, having played four years at Lower Merion HS.
Bryant went on to spend his entire 20-year career with the Lakers between 1996 and 2016. He played in 1,346 games for the franchise and averaged 25.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.4 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 36.1 minutes per game – he shot 45% from the field and 33% from long range in his career.
He was an 18-time All-Star, 4-time All-Star MVP, 15-time All-NBA guard, 12-time All-Defensive player, 5-time NBA Champion, 2-time Finals MVP, one-time MVP, 2-time scoring champ, a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020. He also won an Oscar in 2018.
10. Wilt Chamberlain – No. 13
Wilt Chamberlain was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors with the No. 3 overall pick in the 1959 NBA Draft. He spent 9 years with the Warriors and 76ers before joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968 via a trade. He was the first reigning MVP to be traded and was joining an already-stacked Lakers’ squad.
Chamberlain went on to spend the final five years of his career with the Lakers. During that time, he averaged 17.7 points, 19.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in 43.7 minutes per game (339 games). His numbers weren’t as impressive as his time with the 76ers or Warriors, but he was still an effective player.
Chamberlain was a four-time All-Star and four-time rebounding champion with the Lakers and helped them win the 1972 NBA Championship. He ended up playing in 80 playoff games during his time with the franchise and averaged 15.8 points, 22.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 46.8 minutes per playoff game.
9. Elgin Baylor – No. 22
Elgin Baylor was originally drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 14th round of the 1956 NBA Draft, but he decided to continue playing college ball. After two seasons with Seattle University, he re-entered the draft and was, again, selected by the Minneapolis Lakers – this time with the No. 1 overall pick.
Baylor would go on to spend his entire 14-year career with the Lakers between 1958 and 1972. He averaged 27.4 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.3 rebounds in 40.0 minutes per game (846 games). He also averaged 27.0 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 41.1 minutes per playoff game (134 games).
Baylor was the 1958-59 Rookie of the Year and was an 11-time All-Star, one-time All-Star MVP, 10-time All-NBA forward, and a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. He averaged at least 34.0 points per game in three consecutive seasons between 1960-1963 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
8. Gail Goodrich – No. 25
Gail Goodrich was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 10 overall pick in 1965 and the first three seasons of his career with the team. During that time, he averaged 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 221 games played. He was then drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 1968 expansion draft.
After thriving with the Suns for two seasons, they decided to trade him back to the Lakers – where he spent the next six seasons. During that time, he averaged 22.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in 36.3 minutes per game (466 games). He was also named an All-Star in four of those six seasons.
All in all, Goodrich spent nine seasons with the Lakers and averaged 19.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 31.7 minutes per game (687 games). He helped the team win a championship in 1972, was an All-NBA guard in 1973-74, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.
7. Magic Johnson – No. 32
Magic Johnson was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft. While the Lakers had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the time – who had already won two MVPs with the team – they hadn’t won a championship since joining the Lakers. Drafting Magic Johnson was supposed to help.
And it did. Magic and Kareem won their first championship together in Magic’s rookie season and went on to win four more between 1982 and 1988. Magic spent his entire 13-season career with the Lakers, but had his career end short after contracting HIV. If it weren’t for that diagnosis, he would’ve won more titles.
All in all, Magic Johnson averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.4 blocks in 906 games played with the Lakers. He was a 12-time All-Star, 2-time All-Star MVP, 5-time champion, 3-time Finals MVP, 3-time MVP, 10-time All-NBA guard, and a Hall of Fame inductee since 2002.
6. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – No. 33
Speaking of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he also had his jersey retired by the Lakers. The team acquired him in 1975 via a trade that sent Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Dave Meyers, Junior Bridgeman, and cash to the Milwaukee Bucks – the Lakers also received Walter Wesley. It was a trade that paid off well for LA.
After spending the first six seasons of his career with the Bucks, Abdul-Jabbar spent the last 14 years of his career with the Lakers. In that time, he averaged 22.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.9 steals, and 2.6 blocks in 1,093 games played. He averaged at least 21.0 points per game in 11 straight seasons.
He was a three-time MVP with the Lakers, a two-time blocks leader, a 13-time All-Star, a 5-time NBA champion, a one-time Finals MVP, 7-time All-Defensive center, and 10-time All-NBA center. He was also a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.
5. Shaquille O’Neal – No. 34
Shaquille O’Neal was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. He spent the first four years of his career with the Magic, but decided to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent in 1996 – the same year he won his first Olympic gold medal with the United States.
O’Neal teamed up with Kobe Bryant and spent the next eight seasons with the Lakers. During that time, he averaged 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.6 steals, and 2.5 blocks in 37.6 minutes per game (514 games played). He led the league in scoring during the 1999-00 season with 29.7 points per game.
With Kobe by his side, O’Neal won three NBA titles in a row between 2000 and 2002. He was a 7-time All-Star, 2-time All-Star MVP, 1999-00 MVP, 3-time Finals MVP, 8-time All-NBA center, and 3-time All-Defensive center during his time with the Lakers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
4. James Worthy – No. 42
James Worthy was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 1 overall pick in 1982. It was the first time – and only time – in NBA history that the defending champion received the first overall pick. It was originally the Cavaliers’ pick, but they traded it to the Lakers in exchange for Don Ford three years prior.
Worthy ended up spending his entire 12-year career with the Lakers. During that time, he averaged 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 32.4 minutes per game (926 games). He helped the Lakers win three championships in a four-year span, playing alongside Magic and Kareem.
All in all, Worthy was a 7-time All-Star, 2-time All-NBA forward, 3-time champion, and 1988 Finals MVP. He averaged at least 20 points per game four times – including three straight between 1988 and 1991. He was a member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
3. Jerry West – No. 44
Jerry West was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. He was the first player drafted by the team since their move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. He was also joining a team that already had Elgin Baylor and had just hired West’s college coach to be head coach.
West spent his entire 14-year career with the franchise between 1960 and 1974. During that time, he averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in 39.2 minutes per game (932 games). He led the NBA in scoring with 31.2 per game in 1969-70 and led the NBA in assists with 9.7 per game in 1971-72.
He was a 14-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA guard, 5-time All-Defensive guard, 1972 NBA Champion, 1972 All-Star MVP, and 1969 Finals MVP (despite being on the losing team). He’s a member of the 75th Anniversary Team, is the player behind the NBA logo, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
2. Jamaal Wilkes – No. 52
Jamaal Wilkes was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the No. 11 overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft. He spent the next three seasons with the Warriors before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1977 as a free agent – joining a team that already had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Wilkes spent the next eight seasons with the Lakers between 1977 and 1985. During that time, he averaged 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 33.5 minutes per game (575 games played). He averaged at least 20 points in three consecutive seasons between 1979 and 1982.
He was a 2-time All-Star and 3-time NBA Champion with the Lakers – winning a ring in 1980, 1982, and 1985 – though he didn’t play in the 1985 playoffs. He’s one of the more underrated Los Angeles Lakers’ legends on this list because he was constantly being overshadowed by Magic, Kareem, and even Worthy.
1. George Mikan – No. 99
George Mikan was originally a member of the Chicago American Gears of the NBL in 1946-47, but the team was dismantled ahead of the 1947-48 season. The players were eventually split up evenly among the 11 other NBL teams, which saw Mikan join the Minneapolis Lakers for the 1947-48 season.
Mikan spent a year with the Lakers in the NBL, a year with the Lakers in the BAA, and six years with the Lakers in the NBA. He won an NBL title and won the World Professional Basketball Tournament with the team in 1948, also winning MVP of the NBL and MVP of the WPBT – making an immediate impact.
He then led the BAA in scoring the following season and led the Lakers to a BAA title before the team joined the NBA. He won four more titles with the Lakers once in the NBA and won an All-Star Game MVP in 1952-53. He averaged 22.3 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 379 career games in the NBA.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Legends Who Don’t Have Their Jersey Retired
The Los Angeles Lakers have one of the richest histories as one of the most storied franchises in NBA history. The 12 players listed above make up a large part of that rich history and have earned the right to have their jersey lifted to the rafters – the Lakers’ franchise wouldn’t be what it is today without them.
With that said, there are a lot of other Los Angeles Lakers’ players who are worthy of mentioning – though they might not be worthy of a jersey retirement. Some of those legendary names include Derek Fisher, A.C. Green, Vern Mikkelsen, Byon Scott, Robert Horry, Norm Nixon, Rick Fox, and Michael Cooper.
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You could also place LeBron James alongside those names, now that he’s been with the franchise for five years and has led them to one championship in 2020. He also, most recently, passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the new all-time points leader in NBA history – doing so in a Lakers’ jersey.
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