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 are the reigning NBA champions after defeating the Boston Celtics in the Finals four games to three, capturing the franchise's 16th NBA championship on the 50th anniversary of its relocation to Los Angeles. As of 2009, the Lakers are the most valuable NBA franchise. In June 2010, basketball analyst and writer John Hollinger ranked the Lakers as the greatest NBA franchise of all time.
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 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, first in Los Angeles, 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 regular season game wins and playoff games coached and wins. Two of those championships during that span were against their arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics. From 2000 to 2002, the Lakers won three titles consecutively with the help of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson. After losing both the 2004 and 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers captured two more championships, for a total of 16, by defeating the Orlando Magic in 2009, and the Boston Celtics in 2010.
The Lakers hold records for having (into the 2009–10 season) the most wins (3,027), the highest winning percentage (61.9%), the most NBA Finals appearances (31), the second fewest non-playoff seasons with five (San Antonio Spurs have four), and the second-most NBA championships with 16, behind the Boston Celtics' 17. They also hold the record for compiling the longest win streak (33) in U.S. professional team sports (also an NBA record) in the 1971–72 season. Sixteen Hall of Famers have played for the Lakers, while four Hall of Famers (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 (MVP) award for a total of 8 MVP awards.
1946–1959: Beginnings and Minneapolis dynastyEdit
The Lakers' franchise was founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000 before moving to Minneapolis in 1947, and borrowing from the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes," to christen themselves the Lakers.
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 Finals the Lakers continued their dominance, beating the Washington Capitols four games to two. The following season, the team improved to 51–17, repeating as champions. In the next year's 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 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 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 1950s 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 returned to the Finals in 1959, only to be swept by the Boston Celtics, marking the start of their long rivalry.
1959–1974: Move to Los Angeles and Celtics rivalryEdit
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 Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. The Lakers and Celtics met again in the finals, and the Lakers had the home court advantage against them 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 in sixteen years, 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 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 all 16 games played 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 . 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 led 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 14-year NBA career. For the, 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"Edit
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 his 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, despite Worthy missing most of the second half of the season and playoffs with a leg injury. The Sixers, however, won the series and the championship in four straight games.
In the 1983-84 season the Lakers finished with a record of 54-28, the best record in the West. Oddsmakers expect a Boston-L.A. Final, which was realized when both teams surged into the NBA Finals. The Lakers won two of the first three games, but the physical Celtics regrouped and pushed the finesse Lakers out of their rhythm. The Celtics won three of the next four to win the title and extend the Lakers' drought to eight series defeats to Boston in the NBA Finals.
By the season, the Lakers' "Showtime" era was in full swing. Using last year's Finals defeat as motivation, the team won the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year and lost just twice on the way to the Finals. As expected, the Celtics were the Lakers' final hurdle towards their title quest. However, 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 38-year old Finals MVP Abdul-Jabbar, 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.
In the 1985–86 season, they started 24–3 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. Prior to the 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 accumulated 65 wins, the second-most in franchise history up to that point.
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. The series was highlighted by Johnson's running "baby hook" shot to win game four at Boston Garden with two seconds remaining. 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 took their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title, and subsequently met 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. They swept the playoffs up till the NBA Finals, facing the Detroit Pistons again. The Pistons took advantage of the sudden injuries of Byron Scott and Magic Johnson and took the series in four games.
1989–1999: Post-"Showtime" dry spellEdit
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 in five games to a Chicago Bulls team led by Michael Jordan. 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 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 acquired 17-year-old Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac; Bryant had been drafted thirteenth overall out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. The Lakers also signed free-agent Shaquille O'Neal during the offseason. 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, marking 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 to the Utah Jazz.
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 best-of-five first-round. 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 JacksonEdit
Prior to the 1999–2000 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 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, beating the 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.
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 Warriors. As Phil Jackson was not brought back to coach the team for the 2004–05 season, the team hired Rudy Tomjanovich. Almost only Kobe Bryant remained on the team; after key injuries to Bryant and Odom they finished with a 34–48 record in 2005, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in their franchise history. Since the team failed to make the playoffs, they were 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.
2007–present: Return to championship formEdit
After re-acquiring Derek Fisher, the Lakers started the 2007–08 season fairly well, supported by the flourishing Andrew Bynum. However, Bynum's season ended to injury in January, leading the Lakers to trade 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 player to have won the award since Shaquille O'Neal won the award in 2000. 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.
In the 2008–09 NBA season, the Lakers returned to championship form. Los Angeles finished with a 65–17 record, easily winning the Pacific Division and clinching first place in the Western Conference. After eliminating the Utah Jazz 4–1, they needed 7 games to fight off the Houston Rockets and six to defeat the Denver Nuggets, to win the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers' quest for another title was successfully completed, as they defeated the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals in five games, and won their 15th title, their first in seven years. Kobe Bryant was named the NBA Finals MVP for the first time in his career. On , the Lakers became the first team in NBA history to win 3,000 regular season games, in a 100–95 win against the Dallas Mavericks.
Basically retaining the same cast from last season (only the free-agent switch between Houston's Ron Artest and Trevor Ariza being the key change), the Lakers finished the 2009-10 season with 57 victories, once again the West's best record for the third straight season. They defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games of the first round, then swept past the Utah Jazz in the Conference Semifinals. They defeated the Phoenix Suns in the Conference Finals, four games to two. In the 2010 NBA Finals, the Lakers once again met their old rivals, the Boston Celtics. In a series that recalled some of the two teams' memorable title struggles of earlier decades, the Lakers rallied from a 3-2 series disadvantage and erased a 13-point deficit in the seventh and deciding game to defeat Boston and win their sixteenth title and eleventh in Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant was named the NBA Finals MVP for the second consecutive year. The Lakers became the first team to repeat as champion since the Lakers themselves last did the trick in 2002.
The Lakers have had a long rivalry with the Boston Celtics. They have met in the NBA Finals 12 times with the Celtics winning nine times and the Lakers three times. The first meeting in the Finals was in 1959. Despite being swept by the Celtics in 1959, the Lakers managed to keep every game close. The teams met six more times in the sixties, with the Celtics winning each time. The teams renewed their Finals rivalry in the 1980s, meeting three times (1984, 1985, and 1987). The 1984 series was hyped by the media as Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson. Their last meeting in the finals was in 2010, where the Lakers defeated the Celtics in seven games to clinch their sixteenth title.
Given the team's proximity to Hollywood, the large Lakers fanbase includes many celebrities, most of whom can regularly be seen at the Staples Center during home games. Jack Nicholson, for example, has held season tickets since the 1970s, and directors reportedly need to work their shooting schedules around Lakers home games. Red Hot Chili Peppers featured a song about former point guard Magic Johnson in their 1989 album Mother's Milk. Rapper Lil Wayne wrote a song entitled "Kobe Bryant". From 2002 and 2007 the team averaged just over 18,900 fans, which was still in the top ten in the NBA. The team has sold out every home game since the 2007–08 season.
Name, logo and uniformsEdit
The Laker nickname came from the state of Minnesota being the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The team's colors are purple, gold and white. The Lakers logo consists of the team name, "Los Angeles Lakers" written in purple on top of a gold basketball. Purple uniforms are used for road games and gold uniforms are used for home games. The team also wears white jerseys for Sunday and holiday home games.
Since the Lakers were established in 1948, the team has only missed the NBA playoffs five times. The team has 16 NBA titles and has appeared in the NBA Finals 15 other times. These appearances include eight NBA Finals appearances in the 80s. The best record posted by the team was 69–13, in 1972; the worst record was 19–53, in.
The Lakers are one of only 3 teams to have never lost 60 games in a season. The other teams are the New York Knicks and the New Orleans/Utah Jazz.
Franchise and NBA recordsEdit
The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, located at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles. The Staples Center opened in 1999 and seats up to 18,997 for Laker Games. The Staples Center is also home to fellow NBA team Los Angeles Clippers, their sister team of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Sparks, the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings and formerly the Arena Football League's Los Angeles Avengers. The arena is owned and operated by AEG and L.A. Arena Company. Before moving to Staples Center, the Lakers played their home games at The Forum in Inglewood, California for 31 years.The team played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in their first seven years in Los Angeles.While the team played in Minneapolis, the team played their home games at the Minneapolis Auditorium, from 1947 to 1960.
Hall of FamersEdit
The Lakers have 21 Hall of Famers (15 players, 4 head coaches, and 2 contributors) who contributed to the organization. The Hall of Fame players include (in alphabetical order): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Connie Hawkins, Magic Johnson, Clyde Lovellette, Karl Malone, Slater Martin, Bob McAdoo, George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, James Worthy and Jerry West. John Kundla coached the Lakers to five NBA titles in the 1940s and 1950s. Bill Sharman coached the Lakers to their first Los Angeles title in 1972. Pat Riley coached the Lakers to four NBA titles in the 1980s and Phil Jackson coached the Lakers to five in the 2000s. Chick Hearn was the Lakers broadcaster for 42 seasons until his death in 2002; he was inducted to the Hall a year later. Longtime owner Jerry Buss was inducted in 2010 after owning the Lakers franchise for over 30 years.
The Lakers have had three first overall picks in their history: Elgin Baylor (selected in 1958), Magic Johnson (selected in 1979) and James Worthy (selected in 1982). The Lakers have also had two Lottery picks in their history: Eddie Jones (selected tenth overall in 1994) and Andrew Bynum (selected tenth overall in 2005). Other draft picks include Jerry West, Gail Goodrich in the 1960s, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon in the 1970s, A. C. Green and Vlade Divac in the 1980s, Elden Campbell, Nick Van Exel, Derek Fisher, and Devean George in the 1990s, and Luke Walton, Saša Vujačić, and Ronny Turiaf in the 2000s.
There have been 21 head coaches for the Lakers franchise. The franchise won their first five NBA championships, from 1949 to 1954, all while coached by John Kundla. Pat Riley was the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Phil Jackson broke Riley's regular season record in 2009, and eventually the playoff wins and games coached record a year later. Jackson, Riley, Kundla, and Bill Sharman have all been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for their coaching careers. George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Jerry West, Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, and Kurt Rambis have all played and head coached for the Lakers. Jackson, in his second term, has been head coach of the Lakers since the 2005–06 season.
Chick Hearn was the team's broadcaster for 41 years until his death in 2002. Hearn broadcasted 3,338 consecutive games between November 21, 1965 and December 16, 2001. Paul Sunderland, who had filled in for a couple of games while Hearn recuperated in 2001–02, was named the permanent play-by-play announcer. Stu Lantz was retained as the color commentator Sunderland's contract expired in the summer of 2005, and the team chose not to renew it.Joel Meyers moved in alongside Lantz as the TV announcer, while Spero Dedes and former Laker player Mychal Thompson on the radio. Those remain the current teams for television and radio.
As of the 2009–10 season, Lakers radio broadcasts are heard on KSPN (Los Angeles ESPN Radio affiliate) in English and KWKW in Spanish. KLAC had the team's radio broadcast rights from the 1976–77 season until the 2008–09 season. Telecasts are split between KCAL-TV (road games) and Fox Sports Net West (home games), unless they are chosen for national broadcasts on ABC. KCAL has been the Lakers' over-the-air television broadcaster since 1977, dating back to when the station was the RKO General-owned KHJ-TV, which is longer than any other station currently airing NBA games. Prior to KHJ, Laker games were televised on KTLA. The team games are broadcasted in High Definition on FS West HD, and on KCAL HD.