Over the years there have been many mainstays on the LA Lakers roster, many of them memorable. Players such as Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Shaquille O'Neal are just some of the most recent players to make an impact one way or another in Hollywood. However, there are some players who fans have forgotten once donned the legendary purple and gold uniform.
Some of these players found themselves deep on the pine, others filled a valuable role off of the bench, a few were starters and a select couple have made their way into the Hall Of Fame based on their contributions to other teams prior or after their time in LA. While the current roster of Lakers have yet to establish themselves one way or another in the league (aside from D'Angelo Russell, but that was due to off court activities), chances are twenty years or so from now a few members of the modern day Laker' team may find themselves on an updated list of somewhat favorable yet forgotten members of one of the most storied franchises in the NBA.
For all the names that we remember, Magic, Kareem, Worthy, O'Neal, Bryant, Chamberlain, West, there are the following fifteen names that some fans have forgotten (or in some cases have chosen to forget) about whether it be on the court or on the bench for the franchise.
16 Kwame Brown
After four years in DC, Brown was traded to the Lakers for a package that included fan favorite Caron Butler, a head scratching move on behalf of LA. While Brown would contribute some positive statistics and help more on the defensive side of the floor than the offensive (he honestly couldn't catch a ball if his hands and the ball were covered in Super Glue), he would still become a personal whipping boy of Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson for his lack of ability and talent.
15 Karl Malone
Chasing a championship that twice fell from his grasp, Malone joined Payton for one chance at a ring during the '03-'04 season, giving the Lakers one of if not the most star studded starting lineup in league history (sans Devean George/Rick Fox). A knee injury midway through the season (in which he only played 42 games) and during the NBA Finals caused a major setback to any hopes of Malone retiring with a banner as the Lakers would fall to the underdog Detroit Pistons.
14 Ronny Turiaf
While he would come off the bench for the majority of his three years with the Lakers and averaged no more than 18 minutes a game, his pride and passion for the game and life made Turiaf a favorite of fans, teammates and management. Unfortunately for both parties, free agency resulted in a split, a summer before the Lakers would go on to win back-to-back titles, something that everyone would have liked to see Ronny a part of.
13 Sun Yue
If you blinked you may have missed Sun Yue's NBA career. Drafted by LA with the 40th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Yue waited one more year in China before heading to California for a prime seat on the Lakers bench for the Lake Show.
12 Joe Smith
Equally as forgotten as a LA Laker, Joe Smith is one of the least memorable number one overall draft picks over the last twenty years. While he wasn't a bust, he certainly didn't live up to the expectations of a top draft selection. From 1995-2011, Smith was either one of the most sought after players or one of the least liked as it could be the only reasons why he suited up for 12 different teams (not including multiple stints in three cities).
11 Gary Payton
During the summer of 2003-04, Payton would sign a free agent contract with the Lakers, a team that would give "The Glove" his best chance (next to the 96' Sonics) at capturing an NBA ring. Unfortunately despite four Hall of Fame bound players and a coach on their roster, the '03-'04 Lakers super team failed to reach the lofty expectations that were put in front of them.
10 Smush Parker
The 2005-07 Lakers squad was known more for Kobe Bryant's scoring barrage than nearly anything else. During that two year period, there was a love/hate relationship building between Parker and Bryant (surprise) as after starting his first few games in LA on fire, his play managed to convince Phil Jackson to keep him in the starting lineup. While Smush would not only play and start all 82 games for two straight seasons, he would also post his best statistical numbers of his career.
9 Isaiah Rider
After three trouble filled stops in Minnesota, Portland and Atlanta in which Rider found problems on and off the court, many thought that the "Zen Master" Phil Jackson would be able to handle Rider the same way he did Dennis Rodman while in Chicago. While there wasn't many problems during his one season with the Lakers, Rider was a shell of his former self, as his stats and minutes were basically cut in half.
8 Dennis Rodman
In a case of being too soon or too late, interestingly and unfortunately enough, the last successful coach to work with Rodman, Phil Jackson, would be brought in by the Lakers the following season, one that resulted in an NBA Title. Maybe it was in the Lakers best interest to move on from Rodman before he tainted a young Kobe and Shaq duo, who would create enough of their own drama.
7 Mitch Richmond
Unfortunately for the Lakers, Laker fans and Richmond, they got a shell of what "Rock" used to be. For fourteen of fifteen seasons, Richmond averaged double digits in points, including averaging over twenty points a game for his first ten years in the league. In LA, he was another guy, not a All-NBA team member, not an All-Star, not anything, just a regular bench dude. Yes he was rewarded with a NBA Championship in his final year in the league, but it almost seemed like a pity ring as Richmond hardly even saw any playing time in the Lakers nineteen game playoff run.
6 Glen Rice
Today we have Klay Thompson, in the 90s they had Glen Rice, both dead-eye shooters in their own rights. Starting out in Miami and then years later a blockbuster trade would find the former Michigan Wolverine great in Charlotte in exchange for Alonzo Mourning. In 1999, the Lakers felt they needed a third scoring option behind Kobe and Shaq, to ensure championship banner to their new home at the Staples Center.
5 Shannon Brown
Drafted with the 25th pick in 2006 by Cleveland, Brown would play for two more Eastern Conference teams and a trio of D-League clubs before heading to the West Coast. While Brown struggled to find minutes playing behind Kobe Bryant, he did provide the Lakers with a spark off the bench as one of the most athletic players on the team.
After two seasons in LA, Brown would test the free agent market, thinking that he may hit a big pay day (managed to increase his rate by just over a million) with the Phoenix Suns for a number of years. A season and three cups of coffee later in various cities saw Brown out of the NBA. Last we saw of the high flyer, the Detroit Pistons D-League club Grand Rapids Drive gave him an opportunity to make the squad in 2016.
3 Eddie Jones
Compared to former Lakers legend Michael Cooper as a result of his combination of athleticism and ability to play both ends of the court, Jones would prove the naysayers wrong as he was named to the All-Rookie First Team. For four and a half seasons, Jones would be the Lakers Swiss Army knife as he contributed stats across the board offensively and defensively. Unfortunately for Jones, the move to Charlotte meant that he was less than a year away from being part of the Lakers three-peat and a championship ring that could have very well been his.
2 Sam Perkins
As the fourth overall pick in the legendary 1984 draft class, he would fail to enjoy the glory both individually and as a team that his peers did, but during his seventeen year career, Perkins would make three trips to the NBA Finals. One of those trips came as part of the '90-'91 Lakers squad that would fall to what would become the Chicago Bulls dynasty. During his two and a half seasons in LA, Perkins would contribute 14 points per game and eight boards.
1 Horace Grant
The third wheel in the Chicago Bulls first three-peat and one of the most underrated power forwards in the history of the game, Grant played the same role with the Lakers as he did with Michael and Scottie. Able to hit the elbow J and defend any of the front court positions, Grant captured his fourth NBA championship with the 2000-01 Lakers.
Oddly, after one year in Hollywood in which he started all of the 77 games he played in, Grant decided to return to the Orlando Magic, the team he left the Chicago Bulls for. One season after his second tour of duty with the Magic, Grant would receive a pink slip from coach Doc Rivers. In 2003-04, Grant signed with the Lakers for a second stint and eventually his final year in the league, filling in at power forward for the injured Karl Malone. In the spring of 2016, Grant would return to Chicago as the Special Advisor to Michael Reinsdorf, the Bulls President and Chief Operating Officer.
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