Kobe or Magic?
The Showtime Lakers or the 33-wins-in-a-row Lakers?
And what about George Mikan?
Just which is the greatest Lakers team of all time?
It's time to find out.
The Times has asked an online sports simulation site to run a tournament involving the 12 greatest Lakers title teams of all time, as selected by The Times. Starting Wednesday, the results, round by round, will be posted on latimes.com/sports.
The simulations were done by Imagine Sports, a Silicon Valley-based Internet company developing multiplayer online sports simulation games, including Total Hoops, an online basketball game where users are the general managers of their own pro basketball franchises and can draft or sign players from throughout the history of basketball, and Diamond Mind Online, an online baseball management game licensed and promoted by MLB Advanced Media.
The top four seeded teams receive first-round byes.
The teams, in order of seeding:
1. 1971-72 Lakers. Starters: Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Jim McMillian, Happy Hairston. Bench: Pat Riley, Flynn Robinson, Leroy Ellis, John Trapp, Jim Cleamons.
2. 1986-87 Lakers. Starters: Byron Scott, Magic Johnson,
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, A.C. Green. Bench: Mychal Thompson, Michael Cooper, Kurt Rambis, Wes Matthews, Adrian Branch, Billy Thompson, Mike Smrek.
3. 1999-2000 Lakers. Starters: Kobe Bryant, Ron Harper, Shaquille O'Neal, Glen Rice, A.C. Green. Bench: Robert Horry, Brian Shaw, Rick Fox, Derek Fisher, Devean George, Travis Knight, John Salley.
4. 1984-85 Lakers. Starters: Byron Scott, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Kurt Rambis. Bench: Bob McAdoo, Michael Cooper, Mike McGee, Larry Spriggs, Mitch Kupchak, Ronnie Lester, Chuck Nevitt.
5. 2000-01 Lakers. Starters: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Horry, Rick Fox. Bench: Horace Grant, Isaiah Rider, Mike Penberthy, Devean George, Ron Harper, Greg Foster, Mark Madsen.
6. 1979-80 Lakers. Starters: Magic Johnson, Norm Nixon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Jim Chones. Bench: Michael Cooper, Spencer Haywood, Mark Landsberger, Brad Holland, Butch Lee.
7. 1981-82 Lakers. Starters: Magic Johnson, Norm Nixon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes, Kurt Rambis. Bench: Bob McAdoo, Michael Cooper, Clay Johnson, Mike McGee, Mark Landsberger, Jim Brewer, Eddie Jordan.
8. 1987-88 Lakers. Starters: Magic Johnson, Byron Scott, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, A.C. Green. Bench: Mychal Thompson, Orlando Woolridge, Michael Cooper, Tony Campbell, David Rivers, Jeff Lamp, Mark McNamara.
9. 2001-02 Lakers. Starters: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Rick Fox, Robert Horry. Bench: Devean George, Samaki Walker, Brian Shaw, Lindsey Hunter, Stanislav Medvedenko, Mitch Richmond, Mark Madsen.
10. 1951-52 Lakers. Starters: Slater Martin, George Mikan,
Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, Bob Harrison. Bench: Pep Saul, Whitey Skoog, Lew Hitch, Joe Hutton, John Pilch, Howie Schultz.
11. 1952-53 Lakers. Starters: Slater Martin, Jim Pollard, Vern Mikkelsen, Pep Saul, George Mikan. Bench: Whitey Skoog, Bob Harrison, Jim Holstein, Lew Hitch.
12. 1953-54 Lakers. Starters: Slater Martin, Jim Pollard, Clyde Lovellette, Vern Mikkelsen, George Mikan. Bench: Whitey Skoog, Pep Saul, Jim Holstein, Dick Schnittker.
For a free trial of Total Hoops, readers should register at http://basketball.imaginesports.com/home.