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 5-11, over their 66-year history.
January 7, 1972
The Lakers won their NBA record 33rd straight game by defeating the Atlanta Hawks 134-90 in Atlanta. The team went a combined 30-0 during the months of November and December. Over the course of the streak, Los Angeles was led by Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Pat Riley, Gail Goodrich, and Jim McMillian. The Lakers finished the 1972 regular season with a then-all-time best NBA record of 69-13, which was later eclipsed by the 1995-96 Bulls. This record-breaking season culminated in the franchise’s first NBA Championship since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960. The Lakers still hold the longest winning streak by any team in the history of American professional sports.
January 7, 1998
Shaquille O’Neal blocked three shots in a 114-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks to adjust his career mark to 1,002. Shaq also scored 38 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win. O’Neal finished his career in 2011 with 2,732 career blocked shots, which currently ranks seventh on the NBA all-time list.
January 8, 1997
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first NBA season, commissioner David Stern announced the list of the Top Ten Teams in NBA History. The Lakers appeared on the list twice, with the 1971-72 and 1986-87 teams being featured. Also making the cut were the 1964-65 and 1985-86 Celtics, 1966-67 and 1982-83 76ers, 1969-70 Knicks, 1988-89 Pistons, and 1991-92 and 1995-96 Bulls.
January 9, 1972
The Milwaukee Bucks snapped the Lakers’ unprecedented 33-game winning streak with a 120-104 win in Milwaukee. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar dominated the Lakers as he led Milwaukee with 39 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots against his future team.
January 10, 1986
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored his 34,000th career NBA point, a mark that has only ever been surpassed by Karl Malone, in a 124-102 victory against the Indiana Pacers at the Forum. Abdul-Jabbar entered the game needing 14 points to reach the plateau, and finished with 31 points to bring his career total to 34,017. This game marked the sixth time during the 1985-86 season that Abdul-Jabbar scored at least 30 points, and the 22nd time that he scored more than 20. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career in 1989 with 38,387 total points, good enough for first all-time among NBA players.