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 19-25, over their 66-year history.
January 19, 1998
Legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn broadcasted his 3,000th consecutive game, as the Lakers bested the Orlando Magic 92-89 in Los Angeles. His unprecedented streak ended on December 16, 2001 at 3,338 games. Hearn was the voice of the Lakers from 1961 until the end of the 2002 season.
January 20, 1952
George Mikan scored a career-high 61 points to lead the Minneapolis Lakers over the Rochester Royals 91-81 in double overtime. Mikan is known as the NBA’s first superstar, as he was a five-time BAA/NBA champion, four-time NBA All-Star, six-time All-BAA/NBA First Team honoree, and three-time NBA scoring champion.
January 22, 2006
Kobe Bryant had the best scoring performance of his career, as he dropped 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in a 122-104 Lakers win at the Staples Center. Bryant recorded the second highest single-game point total in NBA history with his 81 points, behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1962. Kobe scored 55 points in the second half alone, and finished the game having shot 28 for 46 from the floor, while going 7 for 13 from beyond the arc and 18 for 20 from the charity stripe. With his 81 points, Bryant set a Lakers franchise record for points in a single game, surpassing Elgin Baylor’s 71 points against the Knicks in 1960.
January 23, 1959
Elgin Baylor won the MVP award at the ninth ever NBA All-Star Game, held in Detroit. Baylor shared the award with Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks, as they collectively led the West team to a 124-108 victory over the East squad. Baylor scored 24 points and collected 11 rebounds, while Pettit had 25 and 16, respectively.
January 24, 1990
Pat Riley recorded his 500th career NBA victory, as his Lakers defeated the Pacers 120-111 in Indiana. As the 13th head coach in NBA history to achieve this milestone, Riley reached the 500-win mark faster than any other coach had done previously. Riley reached 500 wins in his 684th game as a head coach, surpassing Don Nelson, who reached 500 wins in 817 games.
January 25, 1998
At just 19 years old, Kobe Bryant was announced as a member of the 1998 NBA All-Star team. In his first ever All-Star Game, Bryant became the youngest All-Star Game starter in NBA history. When the game was played in February, he scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Western Conference squad at Madison Square Garden.