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 local NBA rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, and the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.
The Lakers are the reigning NBA champions after defeating the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals 4/3. The Finals victory gave the franchise their 16th championship, placing them second in NBA history behind the Celtics’ 17. As of 2010, the Lakers are the most valuable NBA franchise according to Forbes, with an estimated value of $ 607 million.
The franchise started with the 1947 purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the NBL. The new team began play in Minneapolis, Minnesota, calling themselves the Lakers in honor of the state’s nickname, “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.
The Lakers won five championships in Minneapolis, propelled by center George Mikan, who is described by the NBA’s official website as the league’s “first superstar”.After struggling financially in the late 1950s following Mikan’s retirement, they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960/61 season.
Led by Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, Los Angeles made the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, but lost each series to Boston.
In 1968, the Lakers acquired four time MVP Wilt Chamberlain to play center, and after losing in the Finals in 1969 and 1970, they won their sixth NBA title and first in Los Angeles in 1972, led by new head coach Bill Sharman. After the retirement of West and Chamberlain, the team acquired another multiple MVP award winning center, this time Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in 1975, but was unable to make the Finals in the late 1970s.
The 1980s Lakers were nicknamed “Showtime” due to their Magic Johnson-led fast break-offense, and won five championships in a nine-year span. This team featured Hall of Famers in Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, and a Hall of Fame coach, Pat Riley.
Two of those championships were against their rivals, the Celtics. After Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson’s retirement, the team struggled in the early 1990s before acquiring Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 1996.
Led by O’Neal, Bryant, and another Hall of Fame coach, Phil Jackson, Los Angeles won three consecutive titles between 2000 to 2002, securing the franchise its first “three-peat”. After losing both the 2004 and 2008 NBA Finals, the Lakers won two more championships by defeating the Orlando Magic in 2009 and Boston in 2010.
The Lakers hold records for having (into the 2009/10 season) the most wins (3,027), the highest winning percentage , and the most NBA Finals appearances.They also hold the record for longest winning streak (33) in NBA history in the 1971/72 season.Sixteen Hall of Famers have played for Los Angeles, while four Hall of Famers have coached the team.
Four Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Awards for a total of eight awards.
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 win their sixteenth title.
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