By Hardgamer 2 Comments
Before I start off with this topic, I want to dedicate this to a buddy of mine, who has encouraged me to do this blog. This blog I'm typing is about a team whose actions have never seemed endless. It's a team that has been around since the 1940's and it's still alive today.
That team are the Los Angeles Lakers. They are irrevocably a professional basketball team, one of five teams in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Perhaps considered one of the league's most successful and persistent franchises, the Lakers have won 16 championships since the NBA was founded. The team currently plays at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California after formerly playing for years at The Forum from 1967 to 1999. Originally based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the franchise takes its name from that state's slogan, "Land of 10,000 Lakes." The franchise was firstly formed in 1947, back when the NBA was once named the NBL (National Basketball League) before forming with the BAA in the 1948-1949 season. The team won their first championship in that same year and would eventually win the next 4 in 5 years. However, after when they won those titles, they have been overshadowed by none other than the fierce Boston Celtics. The beloved Laker Famers at the time were Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, & Gail Goodrich just to name a few. From the mid 50's to the late 70's, they've only won one championship alone. No matter how far they've went, the Celtics always had the upper hand. This would keep on until the late 1960's when the Lakers acquired the Future Hall of Fame Centers Wilt Chamberlain & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That marked the Chamberlain-Jabbar era as they won the 1972 championship eventually.
In the year 1979, the Lakers obtained The Utah Jazz's first-round pick in a trade, signaling a possible win for the franchise. All those questions would be answered when the Lakers won the coin flip and was awarded the first overall pick by a very narrow slide from the other franchises (The Chicago Bulls specifically.) On the day the Draft was presented, the Lakers chose 6-foot, 9-inch point guard Magic Johnson from Michigan State with the first overall pick. Johnson had already won titles from his High School and in the NCAA as well. With this pick, the Lakers would then enter in a new era in which it would be called The "Showtime" Era. When the Lakers were playing against the Philadelphia Sixers in Game 6 the 1980 NBA Finals, It was informed that Jabbar was ruled out of the game due to an ankle injury. For that, the Lakers relied heavily on Johnson which he himself stated he would have no problem playing center. Well, not only have he played Center that day, but he also played all 5 positions in that game scoring 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals in a 123–107 win which would grant them their 7th NBA title at the time. What was very interesting about this is that Magic won the title, including the Finals MVP Award in his Rookie season. The Lakers would eventually win titles 82, 85, 87, and 88 as they lost 83, 84, and 89. Those who contributed to those championships are Magic Johnson, A.C Green, "Big Game" James Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who would then retire in 1989, and Head Coach Pat Riley.
During the 1990's, The Lakers didn't get as much success as they did in the 80's. In the 1991 NBA Finals, the Lakers faced Michael Jordan's Bulls in which it was one of the most watched games in NBA Finals history. The Lakers won Game 1 in Chicago, but would then ultimately lose the following 4 in which it would give the Bull's the NBA Championship. This series would mark the end of the Lakers Showtime era and the beginning of the Bulls' dynasty. When Magic Johnson retired from the NBA in that same year due to be tested positive in HIV, The Lakers had dramatically fell from the spotlight on the glimpse of ever winning a championship. When many thought that the Lakers are over, they're wrong. In the years of 1996-99, the Lakers have done 3 bold and amazing moves. The first was when the Lakers signed Superstar Center Shaquille O'Neal. The next was when The Lakers acquired 17-year-old Kobe Bryant, a Shooting Guard from the Charlotte (New Orleans) Hornets for Power Forward Vlade Divac; Bryant was drafted 13th overall out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania in that years draft, by Charlotte. And then last but not least, the Lakers hired the Bulls' Head Coach Phil Jackson. With these acquisitions, The Lakers have ridiculously transformed from temporarily pretenders to longtime Championship contenders. This would be later called the "O'Neal, Bryant, & Jackson" era.
These Lakers of the early 2000's were absolutely dangerous and hungry for a championship and their goal was accomplished...Thrice! The Lakers had plenty of memorable games. An example would be when the Lakers came back from a 15+ point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Portland Trailblazers or the time when the Lakers had gone 15-1 in the postseason, only losing to the Sixers in overtime, but I think the most spectacular moment of all was when Robert Horry scored the winning three-pointer from an inbound deflection from O'Neal when the Lakers were trailing 3-2 to the Sacramento Kings as they would eventually beat them in Game 7 and win their 3rd NBA Championship in a row for the second time in franchise history. But after those 3 years of glory, the Lakers would once again fall to the mediocrity level after when the Lakers ultimately fell to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. Following that surprising defeat, Gary Payton and Karl Malone retired from the NBA, Phil Jackson called it temporary quits, and Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat due to the fact that he and Kobe had a very bitter feud between each other. The Lakers didn't get much out that trade except for future Sixth Man of the year winner Lamar Odom. With all those bums, the Lakers relied greatly on Kobe Bryant, who wouldn't let them down to at least get them to the playoffs. Well, there was one thing that I still can't believe though. On January 22, 2006, Kobe may have perhaps made one of the most incredible performances in NBA History...ever: He scored 81 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block. Kobe's 81 points would have been the highest if it weren't for Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game more than forty years ago. Despite that performance, Kobe and the Lakers fell short to the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs after when the Lakers obtained a 3-1 lead before collapsing in a very horrific fashion. What Lakers fans didn't know was that Kobe was now turning bitter toward the organization.
During the 2007 NBA Free Agency Period, Kobe requested a trade from the Lakers because they aren't "Contender Enough" to compete for Championships. Kobe was about to get his wish when The Lakers nearly traded him to the Chicago Bulls, but shockingly died down in the end. It seems that the Lakers made the right decision when the Lakers acquired Spanish All-Star Power Forward Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies for just "A bag of Potato Chips." With this exciting steal acquisition, The Lakers became contenders once again after defeating the Jazz, Nuggets, and the Spurs to go directly to the NBA Finals and they weren't the only ones to regain Championship form. Unfortunately, the Lakers were hammered by the Boston Celtics, featuring eventual Finals MVP Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen A.K.A "The Big Three." The Lakers however were going to win championships no matter with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on the roster. In the 2008-09 NBA Season, the Lakers rebounded from the Finals loss as they went 65-17 for the second seed overall and made it the NBA Finals for the second time in a row. This time, they faced against The Orlando Magic and they beat them 4-1 to finally win the NBA Championship as their last one was in 2002. The Lakers would still go through the following year's Finals as they faced the Boston Celtics in an attempt to get revenge from the 2008 Finals. This wasn't easy though as the Lakers narrowly defeated them in a best of 7 games as they won the NBA Championship...in their home arena! In the 2010-11 season, the Lakers attempted to to make their third "Three-Peat" but were swept by eventual and current NBA Champions The Dallas Mavericks. In the 2011-12 Preseason, The Lakers were about to acquire All-Star Point Guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets, only to be surprisingly vetoed by NBA Commissioner David Stern and most of the opposing Owners involved in the fiasco. Paul was still going to be traded to Los Angeles...but to the Clippers, not the Lakers. With Paul gone, the Lakers are now going for All-Star Center Dwight Howard, according to several sources. Right now, I think the Lakers should concentrate on the season, but if Howard is their #1 Priority, I'm fine with that. The Lakers are going to face the New York Knicks tonight on 10:30 EST on TNT. So, buckle up for tonight's game Laker Nation.
So far, the Lakers are in their 66th season and they are right now attempting to win their third championship in the last four years. Following the 2011 NBA lockout the Lakers will only play 66 games this season. Well, that's pretty much the history of the Los Angeles Lakers. Wow. Just looking at their successes, their minor droughts, and their players, coaches, and the entire organization contributing to this franchise is just absolutely astonishing in my perspective. Despite being overshadowed by several things in the past, the Lakers have been probably the most consistent team in the NBA. Sure, the current team may be filled with veterans, but sooner or later, the Lakers are going to find someone Superstar-Profiled no matter what. Now If this was ever a question stated the best team in NBA History ever, I'd have to choose this team. It's not because I'm just a Hardcore L.A Lakers fan, but I also acknowledge their accomplishments as well. Do you agree or Disagree?