The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the greatest franchise in all of sports. With 16 NBA Championship wins, the Lakers franchise has spoiled their fans with greatness in most decades. Many of the all-time great legends have spent time in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabber and Shaquille O’Neal are just a handful of special names to have iconic runs with the Lakers. Aside from the superstars, we have seen some other memorable names have less impactful runs with the Lakers.
There have been quite a few legends to have forgettable runs with the Lakers due to being role players or past their prime. Lakers fans have also witnessed a few busts have lackluster runs with the Lakers before falling out of the league. We will look at some of the Lakers players you likely forgot were part of the franchise. Not only will we break down the stories of their time in Los Angeles, but we will look at what they are doing today. Find out what these former NBA stars are up to right now. These are fifteen players most fans forgot played for the Los Angeles Lakers along with what they are doing today.
15 Steve Nash - Golden State Warriors Consultant
The legendary career of Steve Nash will see him get inducted into the next class at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Nash truly changed the game in the NBA with the style he played. The Phoenix Suns introduced the run and gun style of offense that many teams use today. If not for Nash being the man to lead the Suns to success, Steve Kerr’s system with the Golden State Warriors may have never happened all these years later.
Nash was never able to get over the hump in Phoenix when it came to playoff success. Towards the end of his career, he made a move to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
A trio of Nash, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant were meant to be the new big three that could contend for another title.
However, things fell apart in one season together. Howard and Bryant clashed, and Nash suffered an injury in his first season.
Injury issues kept Nash off the court as he barely contributed during his time on the Lakers. The career of Nash ended in disappointing fashion for both him and the Lakers fan base. Nash currently has a part-time gig with the Warriors organization as a consultant. It only makes sense the team inspired by his offense now pays him to give them tips.
14 Mark Madsen - Lakers Development Coach
Mark Madsen isn’t remembered for being a great superstar or even an important role player, but he certainly left a memory for Los Angeles Lakers fans of the early 2000s. The stint of Madsen with the Lakers saw him win two NBA Championships in 2001 and 2002. Madsen primarily came off the bench as a reserve power forward and center that got time when Shaquille O’Neal was in foul trouble.
Most fans remember Madsen for his humorous moments at the championship parades. Madsen entertained the world with his dancing skills when celebrating the crowning movement of one’s career. Shaq used to joke that Madsen was the only person that could stop him in practice, and it was the best defense anyone played against him in his career. Following his Lakers run, Madsen struggled to find another role on a team before retiring at the end of the decade.
The post-playing career for Madsen has seen him enter the coaching world. Madsen was a head coach in the D-League for the Los Angeles D-Fenders. A promotion saw him get a spot on the Lakers staff as a player developmental coach. It is very fitting that he is now working for the Lakers after winning two NBA Championships with the team.
13 Andrew Bynum - Off The Grid
The career of Andrew Bynum is remembered as a huge disappointment for failing to live up to his potential. Bynum was drafted out of high school by the Los Angeles Lakers in hopes of being the replacement of Shaquille O’Neal after he was traded away, and the team needed a new center. The progression of Bynum was slower than expected, but he played a huge role in the Lakers return to prominence.
Bynum was the center for the Lakers during their two NBA Championship wins in 2009 and 2010.
The big man paired with Pau Gasol gave the Lakers one of the best front courts in the league. However, Bynum developed a reputation for having a bad attitude leading to him being traded in a big deal for the Lakers to land Dwight Howard.
The Philadelphia 76ers saw Bynum’s injury issues return and he did nothing of note for the team after the trade. Bynum retired at the age of 26 after making over $70 million and winning two rings. It was will considered a disappointment as injuries prevented him from having a special career. Bynum has gone off the grid and is rarely heard from today. The most recent sighting of him saw his sporting blonde hair and wearing flip flops at an NBA Finals game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors a few years ago.
12 A.C. Green - Motivational Speaker
One forgotten NBA player that achieved a lot of cool things during his career is A.C. Green. The biggest accomplishment of Green’s career was being known as an iron man for playing 1,192 straight games. Green spent the early portion of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, including being part of the 1987 and 1988 NBA Championships. His sole All-Star appearance came with the Lakers in 1990.
Green spent most of the 90s away from the Lakers with runs on the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. One more stop in Los Angeles saw Green return to the Lakers to take part in the 2000 NBA Championship. An interesting fact about Green was that he was quite religious and remained celibate throughout his NBA career despite the lifestyle that his teammates lived. Green certainly had a successful career with his best time coming with the Lakers.
Retirement saw Green return to a normal life away from the spotlight. Unlike other NBA players, he didn’t necessarily care for the fame that came along with the gig. Green was most recently seen as a judge in the 2015 D-League Slam Dunk Contest. An opportunity to interact with basketball players flying under the radar seemed more appealing to Green than some other gigs he could have taken with more cameras on him.
11 Kwame Brown - Big 3 League
Kwame Brown is considered one of the all-time NBA busts for failing to live up to expectations. The Washington Wizards drafted him with the #1 overall pick out of high school. Michael Jordan personally made this decision believing Brown’s talent could lead to becoming a superstar in the league. However, he struggled to get acclimated to the NBA. Jordan reportedly killed his confidence by trashing him in Wizards practice during his teenage years.
Brown’s next big chance in the league came when he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in the post-Shaq era. Kobe Bryant needed new sidekicks to return to contention, and the Lakers felt it was worth taking a chance on Brown’s potential. However, he found the same problem as he underachieved leading to Bryant often blasting him in front of teammates.
The NBA career of Brown lasted for many more years, but he was a reserve player at best. Brown is still mentioned when discussing the all-time worst draft picks. The love of the game still exists for Kwame as he was a part of the inaugural season of Ice Cube’s Big 3 league last summer. Brown teamed with Rashard Lewis and Jason Williams on the 3-Headed Monsters and is expected to return next season.
10 Eddie Jones - Reality Television
Eddie Jones had a very underrated career in the NBA. Three All-Star appearances and an All-NBA third team spot showed he truly had a couple of tremendous seasons. Even in the less celebrated years, Jones managed to contribute and always help his team play effectively. The Los Angeles Lakers was his first team and he spent his time there from 1994-1999.
Jones made two of his All-Star appearances with the Lakers and was a fan favorite. Unfortunately for him, Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Lakers in that time frame and clearly had way more potential to become a superstar. The Lakers let Jones go and decided to invest the playing time in Bryant as the starting shooting guard. It worked well for the Lakers, but Jones saw his career trajectory slip a little after losing his ideal spot.
Miami Heat fans also developed a great love for Jones as he was a huge piece for them in the early 2000s. Following retirement in 2008, Jones has been relatively quiet as he didn’t go into the coaching or broadcasting field like some of his peers. One of his few public appearances came as a contestant on the former Pros vs. Joes reality show putting former athletes against fans in contests.
9 Nick Van Exel - Assistant Coach Of Memphis Grizzlies
Another underrated player on this list is retired point guard Nick Van Exel. The play of Van Exel impressed Los Angeles Lakers during his first four seasons in the league with the team. Van Exel made his lone All-Star appearance during his final season with the Lakers in 1998. He had quite a few memorable moments with the Lakers for better and worse.
Van Exel hit a few buzzer beaters that made him beloved for a short time in Los Angeles. The clutch play certainly endeared him to Lakers fans that loved the last second theatrics. However, one of his negative moments in L.A. came when he shoved a referee leading to a seven-game suspension. Following the end of his Lakers run, he continued his career with stints on the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs.
Coaching turned out to be another passion for Van Exel following his retirement from playing.
Van Exel started his coaching career as an assistant for the Texas Southern Tigers men’s basketball team. The Atlanta Hawks hired him for a role in the organization in 2010 and he has bounced around the NBA since then. Van Exel is currently an assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies and has the hope of becoming a head coach in the league one day.
8 Adam Morrison - Basketball Analyst/Fatherhood
Adam Morrison looked like a promising talent in college as a star player for Gonzaga. The outside shooting of Morrison was elite for the college level. Many pundits believed it would translate to the NBA level and he would be able to contribute in a major way. Much like Kwame Brown, Michael Jordan made a terrible choice by betting on Morrison’s talent when drafting him to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Morrison looked terrible from the start and struggled to contribute on the NBA level. Following two and a half terrible seasons in Charlotte, Morrison was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal involving no relevant players. The Lakers hoped his shooting skills would materialize on a team with better talent. However, he regressed even more and struggled to get playing time before getting bounced out of the league.
The end of his NBA career saw Morrison return to Gonzaga as a student assistant helping the basketball team and attending classes. Morrison received his undergraduate degree and apparently moved into another unknown field. All we know about his current life is that Morrison lives in Washington with his girlfriend and two daughters as a family man. His time on the Lakers seems like a lifetime ago.
7 Tyronn Lue - Head Coach Of Cavaliers
The NBA playing career of Tyronn Lue saw him have some great moments for the Los Angeles Lakers in his early seasons. Lue spent his first three years in the NBA on the Lakers squad playing with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Serving as a backup point guard for Derek Fisher, Lue often came into the game and played with a lot of energy to help the team spark important runs.
One not so great moment for Lue came in the 2001 NBA Finals. Los Angeles used Lue as the primary defender for Allen Iverson in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Iverson destroyed him for an incredible game, including an iconic moment where he crossed over Lue to the floor and stepped over him after drilling a shot. Lue still won in the end with two NBA Championship rings as a player for the Lakers.
Following his retirement from the court in 2009, Lue started working on his next career in coaching.
Stints as an assistant on the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers saw him get an associate head coaching spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers when LeBron James returned in 2014. Lue ended up becoming the head coach before the 2016 NBA Playoffs where he coached them to a memorable NBA Championship win over the Golden State Warriors. He is still the head coach of the Cavaliers as they hope to win another title in this year's postseason.
6 Rick Fox - Acting
The 2000-2002 run of dominance by the Los Angeles Lakers had the rest of the league in fear. Shaquille O’Neal was still in his prime and Kobe Bryant was now entering his prime. If they were able to co-exist, the rest of the league would have been in big trouble for another five years or so. One bonus for the Lakers doing so well during the three-peat was their role players knowing how to play with two superstars.
Rick Fox was often the third scoring option on the team as the starting small forward. Despite not being a major difference maker overall, Fox was able to hit big shots and make major plays in the playoff games that contributed to the winning. Following the 2004 NBA Finals loss to the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers traded Fox to the Boston Celtics in an effort to rebuild with Bryant now leading the team.
Fox instead chose to retire as he didn’t want to play for a non-contender after five seasons of deep playoff runs. The post-NBA life of Fox has seen him delve in a few fields. NBA TV has brought him in for an occasional broadcasting role. Fox also has taken up acting with roles on Shameless, Black-ish and a few reality shows. Another outside project has him investing money in a professional E-Sports team called Echo Fox.
5 Karl Malone - Restaurant Owner
The legendary Karl Malone is arguably the greatest power forward of all-time. Malone was able to lead the Utah Jazz to success for most his career. Utah had a great team many seasons, but their best two teams fell short to the reign of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. Malone made a bold decision to bail on the chance to spend his entire career with the Jazz by signing with the Lakers in 2003.
The hope for Malone was to finally win an NBA Championship during his final season in the league.
Teaming with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal was viewed as weak by some pundits, and it worked against Malone at the end of the day. The egos in play on the Lakers failed to come together in the 2004 NBA Finals getting destroyed by the Detroit Pistons.
Malone also got into a controversial war of words with teammate Bryant when allegedly making a pass at Kobe’s wife. Most NBA minds still think of Malone’s best years in Utah over his terrible final season in Los Angeles. Malone returned to the Jazz organization as a big man coach in 2013. Aside from this, he has his stake in multiple restaurant locations like Arby’s, Teriyaki Grill and Jiffy Lube.
4 Gary Payton - NBA Analyst
Another legend to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2004 season was Gary Payton. An incredible run with the Seattle SuperSonics saw Payton become one of the top point guards of the 90s. Many believe his Sonics squad in 1996 was the best overall team to lose to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. Payton was traded from Seattle to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2003. In the upcoming offseason, he decided to sign with the Lakers in free agency.
The planned super team of Payton and Karl Malone joining Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal saw the Lakers become the top favorite to win it all entering the season. They did make the finals, but a lack of chemistry doomed them at the end of the day. Payton had a few more seasons left in the tank and finally achieved his dream of winning an NBA Championship with the 2006 Miami Heat.
The playing career of Payton ended in 2007 and he moved on to the next chapter of his life. Payton did some analyst work for TNT, Fox Sports and still makes occasional appearances to give his insight these days. Ice Cube hired him to be a coach in the Big 3 league and he is expected to return for the second season. Another project for Payton sees him trying to work with a business team to bring an NBA franchise back to Seattle.
3 Vlade Divac - Sacramento Kings Vice-President & GM
Younger fans will remember Vlade Divac as a rival of the Los Angeles Lakers rather than a member of the team. Divac spent his first few seasons with the Lakers as their center. The big man impressed with double double averages a couple of times. Los Angeles fans appreciated his work ethic, but he clearly wasn’t a difference maker for them contending.
Shaquille O’Neal signing with the Lakers in free agency and Kobe Bryant being available in the draft led to Divac leaving the team. Los Angeles traded Divac in a package to the Charlotte Hornets for the rights to the Bryant in the 1996 Draft. Divac signing with the Sacramento Kings saw him become part of the fierce Lakers versus Kings rivalry in the early 2000s. It caused Lakers fans to dislike him after his former stint with the team.
Divac has returned to the Kings organization following retirement. Sacramento hired him as the Vice President of basketball operations and General Manager of the team today.
Divac is currently attempting to bring the Kings back to relevance in the NBA. It will be a difficult job, but he certainly is hoping to make the fan base as excited for the team as they were for the rivalry against the Lakers during his playing career.
2 Glen Rice - Off The Grid
One of the most underrated shooters in the NBA history is retired small forward Glen Rice. The three-point shooting of Rice was ahead of his time. Given the current landscape of the game, it would be fascinating to see how he would have done in today’s NBA. Rice had great runs with the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat in the 90s. Three All-Star appearances, including winning the 1997 All-Star Game MVP showed how great Rice was at his peak.
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Rice for two seasons, including the 2000 season when they won the NBA Championship to start their three-peat.
Rice was only a part of that one ring, but he contributed as the third scoring option on the team behind Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The career of Rice continued in lackluster fashion for a few more teams before retiring in 2004.
Rice has not done anything noteworthy since leaving the league. Most fans have forgotten he existed, but there have been a few negative moments in recent years. Rice reportedly lost most of the money made from his NBA career and was granted a lower child support payment total each month. His son Glen Rice Jr. was an NBA prospect but has struggled to get a roster spot ending the Rice legacy in the league.
1 Dennis Rodman - Political Middleman
Dennis Rodman is considered one of the most controversial players in NBA history. The lack of care for his craft somehow worked for Rodman as a loose attitude truly made him play at his best. Rodman is remembered for being part of the late 90s Chicago Bulls dynasty and part of the early 90s Detroit Pistons “Bad Boys” teams. The grunt work of Rodman rebounding, playing defense and diving for every loose ball helped him win five NBA Championships with legendary teams.
Many fans forget that Rodman spent a season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999.
Rodman joined the Lakers for the shortened season after Michael Jordan retired and the Bulls dynasty ended. It was viewed as a disappointing season as Rodman appeared less motivated than his prior season. Lakers fans were disappointed with Rodman and he left after one season. Rodman played one more year in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks before retiring.
Rodman has somehow become even more controversial after retiring. He formed a friendship with hated North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as the two formed a friendship. Rodman even put together a basketball game with retired players for Jong-un’s birthday. Another controversial friendship with U.S. President led to unbelievable current life of Rodman working as a middleman between his two polarizing friends hoping to resolve the nuclear standoff.
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