The 10 greatest L.A. Lakers of all time -- No. 8:
Continuing our countdown of the 10 greatest L.A. Lakers of all time, as chosen by our readers.
No. 8: Wilt Chamberlain (78 first-place votes, 23,576 points)
The Lakers acquired the already legendary center from Philadelphia on July 9, 1968, for center Darrall Imhoff, forward Jerry Chambers and guard Archie Clark. Chamberlain joined a team featuring fellow top 10 Lakers Jerry West and Elgin Baylor and was expected to be the key to an NBA title, but the Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in Chamberlain's first season with the team, as he was neutralized effectively by Celtics center Bill Russell.
Chamberlain missed most of the 1969-70 season with a knee injury, as again the Lakers lost in the NBA Finals, this time to the Willis Reed-led New York Knicks. It was more of the same after the 1970-71 season, this time a loss in the Western Conference finals to the Milwaukee Bucks.
But the 1971-72 season was magic, with the team winning an unprecedented 33 games in a row, defeating Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Bucks in the Western Conference finals and beating the Knicks in the NBA Finals. Chamberlain scored 24 points and 22 rebounds in the series-clinching Game 6.
On the Lakers all-time leaders list, Chamberlain is first in field-goal percentage at 60.5%, fourth in rebounds (6,524), first in minutes per game (43.7) and first in rebounds per game (19.2).
-- Houston Mitchell
No. 10: Jerry Buss
No. 9: Shaquille O'Neal
Photo: Wilt Chamberlain tries to score over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972. Credit: Los Angeles Times