Advance Sports Australia
Los Angeles Lakers Basketball Team History
The franchise for the Lakers was first started in Detroit before it was moved to Minneapolis. That is when the team received the famous title that they are known for and which the state is nicknamed - Land of the 10,000 Lakes. The infamous team won 5 different league championships before the were than moved to Los Angeles. The Lakers team was first created back in 1944 when Morris Chalfen and Ben Berger decided that they were going to purchase the Detroit Gems (a part of the National Basketball League) for a total of $15. Because the Gems had the worst record of all the teams in the NBL - the Lakers were able to be the first to pick out the players they needed from the 1947 dispersal draft from the Professional Basketball League of America. From this draft they chose George Mikan who later in life became one of the basketball’s greatest center.
With the help of coach John Kundla the Lakers team was able to the NBL championship during the ‘47-’48 season. It was during this time that they were selected along with three other teams to compete in the Basketball Association of America. From this they won the ‘48-’49 BAA championship. George Mikan wasn’t the only player that would help to bring greatness to the Lakers. Vern Mikkelsen, Slater Martin, Jim Pollard, and Clyde Lovellette all played big roles and together with George Mikan they all reached the NBA Hall of Fame during the years of 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, and 1954.
When the team moved to Los Angeles in 1960 their game only got better. It was than that Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Gail Goodrich all made their way into the Hall of Fame also. Even with this success the Lakers they always seemed to be thwarted by one team - the Boston Celtics. They went up against this team six times and each time they lost the championship. It wasn’t until the late 1970’s, early 1980’s that they would finally take the championship away from the Boston Celtics and become the most dominant team in the NBA. Fans were sure that the Lakers would finally secure their win against the Celtics in 1972 when Bill Sharman had taken charge of the team. Sharman was one of the best coach (he won Coach of the Year award) and together with his best player - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - the team seemed unstoppable. Yet, the Lakers were still unable to win a championship. That is until Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined the team. In 1979 Johnson (who at the time was only a rookie) had to take over for the injured Abdul-Jabbar and made an amazing 42 points, 7 assists, and 15 rebounds to secure the championship.
Under Coach Pat Riley the Lakers were able to head to the championship finals eight times during the 1980's. They won 5 of those championships out of 8. Even though they were able to make it once again to the championship finals in 1991 they spent most of the 1990’s playing against teams that most did not consider to be legitimate title contenders. Things started to look up for them in 1996 when they signed on the rookie from the Charlotte Hornets - Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
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