Los Angeles Lakers
|Los Angeles Lakers|
|History|| Detroit Gems|
Los Angeles Lakers
|City||Los Angeles, California|
|Team colors||Yellow, Purple, White|
|General manger||Mitch Kupchak|
|Head coach||Mike D'Antoni|
|D-League affiliate||Los Angeles D-Fenders|
The Los Angeles Lakers are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers play their home games at STAPLES Center, which they share with their fellow NBA rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, and their sister team, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.
The Lakers' franchise was founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan before moving to Minneapolis, where the team got its official title from the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes." The Lakers won five championships before relocating to Los Angeles in the 1960–61 NBA season. The Lakers lost all of their eight appearances in the NBA Finals in the 1960s, despite having help from Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. In 1972, the Lakers won their sixth title under coach Bill Sharman. The Lakers' popularity soared in the 1980s when they won five additional championships during a nine-year span with the leadership of Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, and coach Pat Riley, the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Two of those championships during that span were against their arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics. With the help of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers advanced to four finals in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004, winning in the first three and losing to Detroit Pistons in the last one. In 2008 Kobe Bryant, along with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, leaded the Lakers to the final, where they lost to the Celtics. In 2009 and 2010 the Lakers won their 15th and 16th championships, after they beated Orlando in 2009 and Celtics in 2010. The Lakers hold records for having (at the end of the 2007–08 season) the most wins (2,905), the highest winning percentage (61.5%), the most NBA Finals appearances (30), the second fewest non-playoff seasons with five (San Antonio Spurs has four), and the second-most NBA championships with 15, behind the Boston Celtics' 17. They also hold the record for compiling the longest consecutive win streak (33) in U.S. professional team sports (also an NBA record) in the 1971–72 season. 14 Hall of Famers have played for the Lakers, while four Hall of Famer (John Kundla, Bill Sharman, Pat Riley, and Phil Jackson) have coached the team. Four Lakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award for a total of 8 awards.
1946–1959: Beginnings and Minneapolis dynasty
The Lakers began in 1946 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000. The team was relocated to Minneapolis for the 1947 season. The Lakers, who already had a solid roster with forward Jim Pollard and playmaker Herm Schaefer, added center George Mikan, who quickly became the most dominant player in the game. With Mikan leading the way during their first year, the Lakers won their division by 13 games with a 43–17 record. In the 1949 BAA Championship the Lakers continued their dominance, beating the Washington Capitols three games to one. The following season, the team improved to 44–24, winning the Western Division. In the playoffs, the team defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round.
In the 1951–52 season the Lakers won 40 games, finishing second in its division. Facing the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, the Lakers won in seven games. With a 48–22 record in the 1952–53 season, the team went to the NBA Finals again after defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western Finals. The team won their second straight championship over The Knicks. Though Lakers star George Mikan suffered from knee problem throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 points per game. Clyde Lovellette, who was drafted in 1952 was able to help the team win the Western Division, along with Mikan. The team was able to win their third straight championship in the '50s when they defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games. Following Mikan's retirement in the 1954 offseason, the team struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although defeating the Royals in the first round, the Lakers were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the next round. For the rest of the fifties, the team failed to average above .500. However, they did return to the Finals in 1959, only to be swept by the Boston Celtics, marking the beginning of their long rivalry
1959–1974: Move to Los Angeles and Celtics rivalry
In their last year in Minneapolis, the Lakers went 25–50 and won the number two pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. The team selected Jerry West from West Virginia University. During the 1960 offseason, the Lakers became the NBA's first West Coast team when the owner, Bob Short, decided to move the team to Los Angeles. Although the team featured Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich, the attendance fell dramatically in their first five years in Los Angeles and the team lost the NBA Finals four times to the Boston Celtics in five seasons. The Lakers moved to a brand-new arena, The Forum, in 1967, after playing seven seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. That season saw the team repeating its pattern, losing to the Celtics in the 1968 NBA Finals.
On July 9, 1968, the team acquired Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers for Darrall Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. The Lakers and Celtics met again in the finals, and the Lakers had the home court advantage for the first time. They could not get past their rivals, however, and lost in seven games; the Celtics emerged from the series with their 11th NBA Championship in 13 seasons. Jerry West was named the first-ever Finals MVP; this remains the only time that a member of the losing team has won the award. In 1970 the team returned to the finals, and for the first time, they did not have to face the Celtics; instead the team met the New York Knicks, who defeated them 4–3. The next season the Lakers were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks, led by future Laker Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the Western Conference Finals.
The 1971–72 season brought several changes. Owner Jack Kent Cooke brought in Bill Sharman as the new coach, and Elgin Baylor announced his retirement early in the season after realizing that his legs were not healthy enough. The team, however, still won 14 straight games in November and 16 straight games in December. The team then won three straight to open the year of 1972 but on January 9, the Milwaukee Bucks ended the streak by defeating the Lakers, 120–104. By winning 33 straight games, the Lakers notched the longest winning streak of any team in American professional sports. The team won 69 games that season, setting a new NBA record for wins in a season, until the Chicago Bulls won 72 games in 1995–96. Chamberlain averaged a career-low 14.8 points but led the league in rebounding with 19.2 per game. West led the league in assists, with 9.7 assists per game, and averaged better than 25 points. At the end of the season, Bill Sharman was named NBA Coach of the Year. The Lakers eventually made it to the finals where they took revenge on the New York Knicks by winning in five games, bringing the first NBA title to Los Angeles.
During the 1972–73 NBA season, the Lakers did not match their record from their previous season, but they did clinch another Pacific Division title by winning 60 games. Wilt Chamberlain, playing in his final season, again leading the league in rebounding. The team triumphed over the Chicago Bulls after seven games during the conference semifinals but then easily defeated the Golden State Warriors in the Western Division Finals. The team then met the New York Knicks in the 1973 NBA Finals. The Lakers took the first game by three points, but the Knicks took the series in five games. Following the season, Wilt Chamberlain retired after a 15 year NBA career. For the 1973–74, the team was hampered by the loss of Jerry West, who played only 31 games before his legs finally gave out. Gail Goodrich who averaged 25.3 points, helped the team to a late-season surge. Trailing the Golden State Warriors by three games with seven left to play, the Lakers rallied to win the Pacific Division with a 47–35 record. The team advanced to the playoffs but managed only one win against the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals. Following the season, Jerry West retired, ending his 14 year playing career.
1974–1979: Building "Showtime"
The Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1970s. After missing the playoffs in the 1974–75 season, the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the league's premier big man at that time. Abdul-Jabbar wanted out from Milwaukee, demanding a trade to either New York or Los Angeles. He was eventually traded to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Junior Bridgeman, and Dave Meyers. Abdul-Jabbar had an MVP season for the Lakers in 1975–76, leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. The Lakers struggled in January, with a 3–10 record. At season's end, Abdul-Jabbar won the fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but the team finished out of the playoffs with a 40–42 record.
Jerry West replaced Bill Sharman as head coach during the offseason. It took another MVP season from Abdul-Jabbar to carry the team back to the top of the Pacific Division, as the Lakers finished the 1976–77 season with a league-best 53–29 record. They defeated the Warriors in a seven-game series to open the postseason before being defeated by Portland in the Western Conference Finals. During the offseason, the Lakers picked up Jamaal Wilkes from Golden State and signed first-round draft pick Norm Nixon. In the first two minutes of the first game of the 1977–78 season, Abdul-Jabbar punched Bucks Kent Benson for an overly aggressive elbow and broke his hand. The team won 45 games despite not having Abdul-Jabbar for nearly two months. During the 1978–79 season, the team posted a 47–35 record but lost to the SuperSonics in the semifinal round of the playoffs.
During the 1979 NBA Draft, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected 6'9" Earvin Johnson from Michigan State. The Lakers won 60 games in Johnson's rookie year. The Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the 1980 championship series thanks to an MVP performance by the rookie Johnson, who started for the injured Abdul-Jabbar. He finished with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists en route to the Lakers' second championship in Los Angeles. The 1980–81 season was a disappointment, though, as the Lakers lost Magic Johnson for most of the season to a knee injury. The team turned in a 54–28 record and finished second behind the Phoenix Suns in the Pacific Division. But the Houston Rockets, led by Moses Malone, stunned the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
Owner Jerry Buss fired coach Paul Westhead after the Lakers went 7–4 to start the 1981–82 season. Buss promoted Assistant Coach Pat Riley to head coach on November 19 and the team won 17 of its next 20 games. The Lakers took the Pacific Division title and swept both the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers then stretched its postseason winning streak to nine games by taking the first contest of the NBA Finals from the 76ers. The team won the Finals four games to two; the team's playoff record that year was 12–2. On draft night in 1982, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected James Worthy from North Carolina. The Lakers clinched the Pacific Division with a 58–24 record, advancing to the 1983 NBA Finals by defeating Portland and San Antonio in the first two rounds. The Sixers, however, won the series and the championship in four straight games.
By the 1984–85 season, the Lakers' "Showtime" era, the most successful era in team history, was in full swing. The team won the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year. The Lakers lost game one of the NBA Finals by a lopsided score of 148–114, in what is now remembered as the "Memorial Day Massacre". The Lakers were resilient and behind 37-year old Finals MVP Abdul-Jabbar, and they were finally able to defeat Boston in six games. The team won the title in the Boston Garden, thus making the 1985 Lakers the only visiting team to ever win an NBA championship there.
Magic Johnson, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, led the "Showtime" Lakers to five NBA titles in the 80s.In the 1985–86 season, they went 24–3 in their first 27 games and finished with 62 wins, clinching their fifth straight division title. The Houston Rockets, however, defeated the Lakers in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets won the series when Ralph Sampson hit a 20–foot jumper as time expired in game five at The Forum. The next season the Lakers accumulated 65 wins, the second-most in franchise history up to that point. Johnson then notched his last Finals MVP award as the Lakers defeated their arch rival Celtics in the finals, highlighted by Johnson's running "baby hook" shot to win game four at Boston Garden with two seconds remaining. Prior to the 1986–87 season, the Lakers let go of Maurice Lucas, moving A. C. Green into the starting lineup, and picked up Mychal Thompson from the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson won his first career NBA Most Valuable Player Award while leading the Lakers to a 65–17 record, the second-best mark in franchise history. Michael Cooper was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
The Lakers met the Celtics in the NBA Finals by sweeping the Denver Nuggets, losing just one game to the Golden State Warriors, and then swept the Seattle SuperSonics in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers routed the Celtics in the first two games of the Finals, and the teams then split the next four contests, giving the Lakers their second championship in three seasons. Johnson was named the NBA Finals MVP, to go with his regular-season MVP trophy. At the Lakers' championship celebration in Los Angeles, coach Riley brashly declared that the Lakers would repeat as NBA champions in the next season. During the 1987–88 season, the Lakers won, taking their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title, and subsequently meeting the Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals. The Lakers took the series in seven games, and James Worthy's triple double earned him a Finals MVP award. In the 1988–89 season, the Lakers won 57 games. The team made it to the NBA Finals, facing the Detroit Pistons again. The Pistons took advantage of the injuries of Byron Scott and Magic Johnson and took the series in four games.
1989–1999: Post-"Showtime" dry spell
Vlade Divac had eight seasons with the Lakers after he was drafted 26th overall in 1989. On June 28, 1989, after twenty professional seasons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. During the 1990 offseason, 1987 Defensive Player of the Year winner Michael Cooper also announced his retirement. The team made another Finals appearance in 1991 but lost to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in five games. On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced he had tested positive for HIV and that he would retire immediately. In their first season without Magic, they only won 43 games. In addition, they were eliminated after only four games in the first round. During the 1993–94 season, the team won only 33 games and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in franchise history.
For the next two seasons, the team made the playoffs but were eliminated in the second and first round, respectively. During the 1996 off-season, however, the Lakers signed Shaquille O'Neal and acquired rookie Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac. They used their 24th pick in the draft to select Derek Fisher. During the season, the team traded Cedric Ceballos to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry.
O'Neal led the team to a 56–26 record, their best effort since 1990–91, despite missing 31 games with a knee injury. O'Neal averaged 26.2 ppg and 12.5 rpg and finished third in the league in blocked shots (2.88 bpg) in 51 games. The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs. O'Neal scored 46 points in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, it marked the highest single-game playoff scoring output by a Laker since Jerry West scored 53 against the Celtics in 1969. In the next round, the Lakers lost four games to one.
In the 1997–98 season, O'Neal and the Lakers had the best start in franchise history, starting 11–0. O'Neal missed 20 games due to an abdominal injury. All season, the Lakers battled with Seattle for the Pacific Division title. In the final two months of the season, the Lakers won 22 of their final 25 games. With their late-season surge, the Lakers overtook Seattle atop the Pacific at 61–21. The Lakers defeated Portland three games to one, in the first-round best-of-five. In the next round, the team faced Seattle. Although Seattle won the first game, the Lakers responded with four straight wins and took the series. The Lakers were swept in four games by the Utah Jazz, being one series short of reaching the Finals for the first time since 1991.
During the middle of the 1998–99 season, All-Star guard Eddie Jones and center Elden Campbell were traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The team also acquired J.R. Reid, B.J. Armstrong, and Glen Rice. The team finished 31–19 in the shortened season, which was fourth in the Western Conference. The team defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs but were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in the next round.
1999–2004: Bryant, O'Neal, and Jackson
Kobe Bryant, along with Shaquille O'Neal, helped the Lakers win three straight NBA titles. The Lakers at the White House following their 2002 NBA championship. Shaquille O'Neal won three consecutive NBA Finals MVPs with the Lakers from 2000 to 2002.Prior to the 1999–00 season, the Lakers hired former Bulls coach Phil Jackson as head coach and re-signed veterans Brian Shaw, John Salley, Ron Harper, and A.C. Green, who was with the Lakers during the "Showtime" era. The team also moved to a new arena, the Staples Center.
At the start of the 1999–2000 season, they won 31 of their first 36 games. They won 67 games, the most games since they won 65 in the 1986–87 season. The team eliminated the Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns in the first two rounds of the playoffs. After taking a three games to one lead in the Western Conference Finals, the Portland Trail Blazers came back to force a game seven. The team was down by 15 points but went on a 19–4 run to tie the game. The Lakers won 89–84 and went to the NBA Finals. The team defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers four games to two in the 2000 NBA Finals to win their first title since 1988. The following season, the team won 11 fewer regular season games. The team, however, swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in three and the Kings and Spurs in four. The team met Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals; the Sixers took game one in overtime. But the team came back, taking four in a row to clinch their second straight title. The team had a 15–1 record in the postseason, the best in NBA history. The Lakers won 58 games in the 2001–02 season but the Sacramento Kings clinched the Pacific Division.
In the playoffs, the team eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, three games to none, and the San Antonio Spurs four games to one, in the second round. The team faced the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Finals; the series went to seven games, the last of which ended in a six-point overtime win in favor of the Lakers. The Lakers then achieved a three-peat by sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.
In the beginning of the 2002–03 season, they started 11–19. The team went 39–13 for the rest of the season and won 50 games. The team faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs; the Lakers took the series in six games. The team was eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs four games to two in the Western Conference Semifinals. The following offseason, the Lakers signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Three of the "big four", however, struggled with injuries: Shaquille O'Neal suffered from a strained calf, Karl Malone with an injured knee and Kobe Bryant with a shoulder injury. Ending up with a 56–26 record, they clinched the Pacific Division and entered the playoffs as the number two seed. They defeated the Houston Rockets, Spurs, and Timberwolves in the first three rounds of the 2004 NBA Playoffs, before they succumbed to the Detroit Pistons in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals.
===2004–present: Rebuilding===and best fan
The Lakers rehired Phil Jackson before the 2005–06 NBA season. During the 2004 offseason, the team entered the rebuilding phase when O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler, and a first-round draft pick. The team also traded Rick Fox and Gary Payton to the Boston Celtics, for Chris Mihm, Marcus Banks, and Chucky Atkins. Derek Fisher, frustrated with losing playing time, opted out of his contract and signed with the Golden State Warriors. As Phil Jackson was not brought back to coach the team for the 2004–05 season, the team hired Rudy Tomjanovich. With only Kobe Bryant remaining on the team, they finished with a 34–48 record in 2004, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in their franchise history. Since the team failed to make the playoffs, the team was in the 2005 Draft Lottery, their first since 1994.
With the tenth overall pick, The Lakers selected Andrew Bynum, a center from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. The team also traded Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. Jackson returned to coach the team after Rudy Tomjanovich resigned midway through the previous season. On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest total in NBA history. Ending the season with a 45–37 record, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. After taking a three games to one lead in the first round, the Phoenix Suns came back to take the series in seven games. In the following season, they won 26 of their first 39 games. For the rest of the season, they lost 27 of their last 43 games, including a seven game losing streak. The team was eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns again, four games to one.
After a season ending injury to Andrew Bynum in January 2008 of the 2007–08 season, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and two first round draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol and a second round draft choice. After the trade, the Lakers went on to clinch the first seed in the Western Conference with a 57–25 record. Kobe Bryant was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the first Los Angeles Lakers guard to have won the award since Magic Johnson won the award in 1990. Bryant was also the first player to receive the Bill Russell finals MVP award. The Lakers went to the playoffs and defeated the Denver Nuggets in four games, the Utah Jazz in six games, and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in five games. They entered the NBA Finals for the first time in four years, facing their long-time rivals, the Boston Celtics, whom they had not played in the Finals in 21 years. The Lakers eventually lost the series in six games. The Lakers returned to the Finals in 2009 and beat the Orlando Magic in six games, winning their 15th championship. The Lakers have won the Western Conference three years in row to date.
|Minneapolis Auditorium||1948-1960||As Minneapolis Lakers|
|Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena||1960-1967|
|Great Western Forum||1967-1999||Formerly The Forum|
Jerry Buss - Owner
Jeanie Buss - Executive Vice President of Business Operations
Mitch Kupchak - General Manager
Head Coach - vacant
Los Angeles Laker Girls - Laker Dance Team
|Los Angeles Lakers current roster|
|Head Coach: Phil Jackson||Edit|
|PG||12||Shannon Brown||(Michigan State)|
|SG||24||Kobe Bryant- Captain||(Lower Merion HS, |
Lower Merion, PA)
|C||17||Andrew Bynum||(St. Joseph HS, |
|SF||41||Chinemelu Elonu||(Texas A&M)|
|PG||2||Derek Fisher||(Arkansas-Little Rock)|
|C||28||D.J. Mbenga (UFA)||(DR Congo)|
|PF||7||Lamar Odom||(Rhode Island)|
|PG||18||Sasha Vujačić (RFA)||(Slovenia)|
|Los Angeles Lakers|
|banner for Minneapolis Hall of Famers||17 Jim Pollard, 19 Vern Mikkelsen, 22 Slater Martin, 34 Clyde Lovellette, 99 George Mikan, coach John Kundla|
- Minneapolis Lakers
- Los Angeles Lakers All-Time Records
- Bulls versus Lakers and the NBA Playoffs
- Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
Media on the Los Angeles Lakers
- Lakers Blog
- The Lakers on the OC Register
- Club Lakers
- Fanatics Lakers Blog
- Big Lakers Fan
- Forum Blue and Gold
- Inside the Lakers
- Lakers Lock
|Los Angeles Lakers|