Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the oldest and most revered teams in the NBA. Other teams might talk about how many times they have made the playoffs or won their division, but the Lakers talk about their 16 NBA championships. There will always be debate about who the best players in NBA history have been, but depending who you ask there could easily be four Lakers in the top ten best NBA players of all time.
They joined the NBA in 1947 as the Minneapolis Lakers. Minneapolis is located in the state of Minnesota which has the nickname of “land of a thousand lakes.” This is why the team chose to be called the Lakers.

los angeles lakers present logo

Present logo of the Los Angeles Lakers

Early in their history, the Lakers were a team to be taken seriously. Most teams take awhile to establish themselves as a legitimate NBA team, but this was not the case for the Lakers. They won five championships in thirteen seasons in which they called Minneapolis home. During their five championships they were led by George Mikan who is considered to be the first superstar in NBA history. After he retired from basketball, the Lakers struggled for awhile. They even began to be in financial trouble, so in 1960, they decided to move the franchise from Minneapolis to the metropolis known as Los Angeles in California.
After a few bad years in the late 50′s after Mikan retired, the Lakers established themselves as an elite team in the 60′s. They made it to the finals six times in the decade, but they lost each time to the Boston Celtics who won 11 of 13 titles in that time frame. The Lakers were led by Jerry West and Elgin Baylor during the 60′s.
Jerry West and Elgin Baylor are two of the best players in NBA history, but they were constantly defeated by the Celtics in the playoffs. Baylor never won a championship, and West only won one championship despite their distinguished careers.
The Lakers were not able to get over the hump to win another championship until Wilt Chamberlin joined the Lakers. He was a four time Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the NBA, and in one game he once scored 100 points which is the most in league history. The next closes is 81 points by current Laker Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers won their first championship in Los Angeles in 1972 behind Chamberlin and West. The Lakers did not make it back to the NBA Finals until the late 70′s after Chamberlin and West had retired. They were now led by Kareem-Abdual Jabbar who was their new multiple league MVP center to replace Chamberlin.
The 80′s were another great decade for the Lakers. They won five titles in a nine year stretch. They were led by Magic Johnson and Kareem. James Worthy was another hall of fame player who played during that time. They were coached by Pat Riley who is also a hall of famer. Magic Johnson won multiple MVP awards and many consider him the second best player of all time behind only Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson was 6 feet 9 inches tall, but he was so talented dribbling the ball that he played the point guard position. There were times he would play point guard on offense and center on defense.
After Magic and Kareem retired, the Lakers struggled for a few years in the early 90′s until they obtained Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in the late 90′s. These two would go on to restore the Lakers to their former glory. They won three championships in a row 2000-2003. It was the first time the Lakers won three championships in a row. Both Kobe and Shaq won MVP awards while playing for the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant and Shaq began to have issues as teammates, and the Lakers ended up trading Shaq to the Heat. The Lakers watched as Shaq won a championship with the Miami Heat. It was only a matter of time before the Lakers found yet another dominant big man to play for them.
Pau Gasol joined the team in the 2007-2008 season in a midseason trade after the Lakers center Andrew Bynum was hurt. The Lakers went to the Finals to face the hated Celtics. The Celtics ended up winning the Finals in six games.
The Lakers would not be content with the loss, and Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol then led the Lakers to back to back championships in 2009 and 2010 including a defeat of the Celtics in 2010.
Kobe Bryant is getting older, but he still continues his play as one of the best players in the league and one of the best players in NBA history. The Lakers are currently one of the top teams in the West and look to return to the Finals after a disappointing loss to the Mavericks in last season’s playoffs.