Both the Lakers and the Celtics have a lot of history.
Not only do they account for nearly half of the championships in NBA history (75) between the two (34), but some of the best players the league has seen have dressed for the Lakers and Celtics at some point in time. their careers. .
To name a few: LeBron James, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Bill Russell, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale, Magic Johnson … the list goes on.
Before the second and final meeting between the Lakers and the Celtics in the 2023-22 NBA season, two members of The Sporting News staff attempted to build an all-time team for each franchise. The Rules: LeBron James served as the Lakers team captain, while Jayson Tatum served as the Celtics captain. Both teams featured a starting five, plus a sixth man.
Which team would win in a hypothetical matchup? Here are the results.
NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock games outside the live market (7-day free trial)
Los angeles lakers
PG: Magic johnson
SG: Kobe bryant
SF: Elgin baylor
FAQ: Lebron James
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Sixth man: Shaquille o’neal
Coach: Phil Jackson
I mean, you really can’t go wrong here. We are talking about some of the most iconic players in NBA history.
For me, two picks were a no-brainer: Magic and Kobe. Magic made everyone around him better with his incredible vision of the court, and he could legitimately play in every position on the court. (This is his reminder that he once replaced Kareem in center … in the NBA Finals … finishing with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists … as a rookie.) Kobe’s resume speaks for itself: He is one of the best scorers in history, a guy who once scored 81 points in one game. Few players will ever make it to their five championships and two Finals MVPs.
Who should start at small forward was not easy. Baylor and James Worthy have a strong case, but I gave Baylor the upper hand. 10 All-NBA picks is no joke.
Last but not least, the hardest decision of all: Kareem, Shaq or Wilt in the middle. Ultimately, Kareem was a much longer Laker than Shaq and Wilt, racking up a lot of accolades during his time in purple and gold, including a handful of championships, three MVP awards, and a host of All-NBA and All-defensive picks. .
With the ball handling, form of play and versatility offered by Magic, Kobe, Baylor and LeBron, I feel good about making Shaq the sixth scariest man in NBA history. Apologies to the logo itself, Jerry West, who would have made the cut differently.
The result? An all-time team that no other franchise can match, not even the Celtics.
– Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)
PG: Sam jones
SG: John havlicek
SF: Jayson tatum
FAQ: Larry Bird
C: Bill russell
Sixth man: Kevin Garnett
Coach: Red auerbach
I’m not going to lie, I laughed a bit before this draft. Scott decided to take the Lakers, and I know deep down that he thought it would be easier for him to build a team than it did me, but he has much tougher decisions to make than I do.
If you knew Scott like I do, you’d laugh too.
All right, on my all-time Celtics team. With Tatum already on my team, I opted for the obvious choice of Bird. You really can’t have an all-time Celtics team without Bird.
In the middle, I went with the best Celtic of all time (I didn’t stutter) in Russell. Again, there was no real debate as to who he would go there with.
The guards were a bit tricky, but I ended up with Jones and Havlicek. They’re both probably more shooting guards than point guards, but that’s okay – our coach, Red Auerbach, would find a way to keep the stone moving.
Finally, I went with Garnett as my sixth man.
This was by far the hardest choice. I thought of Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce, Robert Parish, and Bob Cousy, but finally settled on Garnett. With all the great Lakers men Scott was able to draw from, I’d rather shore up my defense should I decide to form a lineup with Kareem and Wilt or Shaq and Kareem.
If you’re trying to imagine what things would look like if these two fictional lists matched up in a seven-game series, let me help you: Boston would win. Listen, that’s not that I’m being biased. I rely on history.
The Lakers and Celtics have faced each other a record 12 times in the NBA Finals. Boston has won nine of those series.
Who am I to argue against history?
– Carlan Gay (@CarlanGay)
Which team would win?
It’s up to you!
Who wins in an all-time clash between the Lakers and the Celtics?
Magic, Kobe, Elgin, LeBron, Kareem.
6th man: Shaq
Jones, Havlicek, Tatum, Bird, Russell.
6th man: KG
– NBA Sports News (@sn_nba) December 7, 2023