After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of January 12-18, over their 66-year history.
January 12, 2006
Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning jump shot over LeBron James with 8.6 seconds left in regulation to lift the Lakers to a 99-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Staples Center. Despite a sore right wrist, Bryant scored the final six points down the stretch for Los Angeles and finished with a team-high 27 points in the win. Lamar Odom chipped in with 20 points, while Smush Parker added 12.
January 14, 2008
On a night without star center Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant picked up the slack for the Lakers, as he hit a game-winning jump shot with 4.3 seconds left in overtime to propel Los Angeles over the Seattle SuperSonics 123-121 in Seattle. Bryant scored a season-best and game-high 48 points, marking his 87th career 40-point game, which put him one behind former Laker Elgin Baylor for third all-time in NBA history. This game marked the seventh straight win for the Lakers, which was their longest winning streak since March 2004.
January 17, 1968
The Lakers won their first game at the Great Western Forum, otherwise known as Mecca West. Jerry West led the scoring attack for Los Angeles as he dropped 39 points in a 125-116 victory over Wilt Chamberlain’s Philadelphia 76ers. Gail Goodrich added 29 points, while Elgin Baylor contributed 18 in the win. The Forum was home to six Lakers NBA championships from 1967-1999.
January 17, 1994
As a result of the damages caused by the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, the Great Western Forum was closed. Thus, a game between the Lakers and Sacramento Kings at the Forum was postponed. The Clippers were also forced to postpone two of their home games. The Northridge earthquake, which killed 60 people and injured more than 7,000, is one of the worst earthquakes to ever hit southern California.
January 18, 1960
The Minneapolis Lakers survived a plane crash during a treacherous blizzard that forced an emergency landing in a small field in Carroll, Iowa. The crash came as a result of an electrical failure within the plane. Unbelievably, the team avoided potential disaster as no one was hurt. In 2010, to honor the 50th anniversary of the miracle that took place in Carroll, Iowa, the Lakers donated $25,000 towards the building of an outdoor basketball court on the very spot the plane landed.
January 18, 1972
Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers hit a 20-foot buzzer-beater to lift the Western Conference All-Stars over the Eastern Conference team in front of his hometown crowd at the Great Western Forum. West scored 13 points in 27 minutes of action, en route to being named All-Star Game MVP.