Paolo Banchero picks 4 Lakers in his top 5 players of all time

Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic

Paolo Banchero reportedly loves his new NBA team. He also expressed deep admiration for some of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Lakers.

Paolo Banchero was a surprise pick at No. 1 for the Orlando Magic in this year’s draft, not because of his talent but because rumors had so loudly connected the Magic with Jabari Smith. The Orlando faithful have welcomed him with open arms and are hoping he’s here for the long haul. However, Banchero may have inadvertently planted a seed of doubt for some of the more anxious Magic fans.

Complex asked Paolo Banchero to name his top five NBA players of all time and he went with Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

There are a few noteworthy things here. First, even though he said he was listing them in no particular order, Kobe came to mind before Jordan or LeBron. Including Kareem is also fairly rare for a young player of his generation, often drawn more to wing scorers and creators in the Jordan mold. The last is that four of those five players were Los Angeles Lakers.

Paolo Banchero loves his Los Angeles Lakers

This in and of itself might not seem like a big deal. But remember that Banchero was just selected No. 1 by the Orlando Magic. The Magic have had the No. 1 pick in the draft three other times in team history. The first time they took Shaq. The second time they took Chris Webber and traded him for Penny Hardaway. The last time, they took Dwight Howard.

And, of course, O’Neal and Howard both ended up eventually joining the Lakers and leaving the Magic in disarray behind them. Banchero grew up in Seattle and doesn’t have any obvious connection to the Los Angeles area. But Magic fans would probably much rather be celebrating him joining their team right now than hearing about his admiration for players wearing purple and gold.

For their sake, here’s hoping he only follows the paths of O’Neal and Howard as far as winning Rookie of the Year and becoming dominant interior forces, leaving out that last part about seeking greener pastures in California.

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