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 in this off-season version of “A Blast from the Past,” with some of the best Laker-memories from June, over their 66-year history.
June 2, 1985
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer when he exceeded Jerry West’s previous record of 4,457 playoff points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with 5,762 playoff points, but was eventually surpassed by Michael Jordan’s 5,987.
June 9, 1985
At 38 years old, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the oldest player ever voted NBA Finals MVP, after the Lakers defeated the Celtics in six games to secure the title.
June 14, 2009
Phil Jackson won his 10th NBA championship as a head coach when the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in five games in the NBA Finals. Jackson passed Red Auerbach for most-ever coaching titles in NBA history. He would go on to win one more NBA title as a head coach in 2010, before retiring from coaching in 2011.
June 15, 2001
With their Game 5 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals, the Lakers solidified themselves as the most dominating playoff team in NBA history. Los Angeles set NBA records, which still stand today, for best playoff record (15-1) and highest playoff winning percentage (.937).
June 19, 2000
Shaquille O’Neal became the third player in NBA history to sweep MVP honors during a season when he was named the unanimous MVP of the 2000 NBA Finals. O’Neal also captured the All-Star Game MVP award before being named the NBA MVP at the end of the regular season. O’Neal joined Willis Reed and Michael Jordan as the only three players in history to capture the NBA’s version of the triple crown.
June 25, 1979
The Lakers selected Magic Johnson from Michigan State University with the first overall pick in the NBA draft. The sophomore Johnson became the first underclassman selected with the top pick in NBA history. Johnson won both the NBA title and Finals MVP award in his rookie season with the Lakers, making him the first-ever rookie to do so.
June 29, 1982
The Lakers traded Don Ford and Chad Kinch to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft. With the pick, Los Angeles selected James Worthy of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden. Worthy spent his entire career with the Lakers and won three NBA championships during his 12 seasons in Los Angeles.
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 June 15-21, over their 66-year history.
June 16, 1975
The Bucks traded Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers after the three-time MVP requested to be traded away from Milwaukee. Abdul-Jabbar went on to win five NBA championships, three MVP awards, and became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer while wearing the purple and gold. His number 33 was eventually retired by both the Bucks and Lakers after his playing days came to an end in 1989.
June 16, 1999
The Lakers hired Phil Jackson to become their head coach after his wildly successful run as the head coach of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. In his first three years as the Lakers’ head coach, Jackson led the team to three-straight NBA championships. During his second coaching stint with Los Angeles, Jackson led the Lakers to consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010. In 12 seasons at the Lakers’ helm, Jackson won five NBA championships and became the NBA’s career leader in playoff victories and playoff winning percentage.
June 17, 2010
The Lakers defeated their rivals, the Boston Celtics, 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Despite an ugly game on both sides, an unlikely hero emerged for Los Angeles, as Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, stepped up and dropped 20 points for the Lakers. Although Kobe Bryant struggled uncharacteristically, going 6-24 from the field, he finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds in the win. The Lakers’ Game 7 victory avenged their loss to Boston in the 2008 Finals and secured their second consecutive title.
June 21, 1988
“Big Game” James Worthy picked the perfect time to live up to his nickname, as he recorded the first triple-double of his career with 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists, to lift the Lakers over the Pistons 108-105, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Worthy’s clutch performance allowed the Lakers to become the first NBA team to defend its championship since the 1969 Boston Celtics. With their victory in the title-clinching game, Los Angeles also became the first team in NBA history to win three straight playoff series in seven games, having done so consecutively against Utah, Dallas, and Detroit.
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 June 8-14, over their 66-year history.
June 8, 2001
After losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers bounced back with a 98-89 victory in Game 2, behind 31 points from Kobe Bryant and 28 points and 20 rebounds from Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers wouldn’t lose another game on their way to a second straight NBA championship.
June 9, 1987
Magic Johnson hit a heroic sky hook shot over Boston’s McHale and Parish to give the Lakers a 107-106 victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Johnson led the Lakers with 29 points, while James Worthy added 21 to give Los Angeles a commanding three games to one series lead. In what would be the last Finals match-up between Johnson and Larry Bird, the Lakers won the series and the championship over the Celtics in six games.
June 9, 2000
After Kobe Bryant injured his ankle in the second quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Pacers played the percentages and resorted to fouling Shaquille O’Neal a record 39 times, in hopes that he would miss a substantial number of free throws. The “hack-a-Shaq” attempt failed, as O’Neal converted on 18 of his attempts, including 9 of 16 in the fourth quarter. He finished with 40 points and 24 rebounds, as he put the Lakers on his back and lifted the team to 111-104 victory over Indiana.
June 14, 2000
Kobe Bryant tipped in the deciding bucket with six seconds remaining in Game 4 of the NBA Finals to give the Lakers a 120-118 overtime victory against the Indiana Pacers. Despite fouling out, Shaquille O’Neal led all scorers with 36 points and 21 rebounds. The Lakers eventually won the title over Indiana in six games.
June 14, 2009
Kobe Bryant answered the critics and won his first NBA championship without Shaq, after leading the Lakers to the title in five games against the Orlando Magic. En route to his first Finals MVP award and fourth ring, Bryant scored 30 points in the decisive game.
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 May 18-24, over their 66-year history.
May 19, 1987
Magic Johnson won the 1986-87 NBA Most Valuable Player award following a campaign in which he averaged 23.9 points per game, while dishing out a league-leading 12.2 assists per game. Johnson became the NBA’s first guard to be named MVP in 23 years.
May 19, 2009
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points to lead the Lakers to a come-from-behind 105-103 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals over the Denver Nuggets. Despite trailing by seven points late in the fourth quarter, Bryant notched six free throws in the final 30 seconds of the game to fuel Los Angeles’ comeback. Pau Gasol added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, including two free throws to tie the game at 99.
May 21, 2008
Kobe Bryant hit an eventual game-winning 10-foot jump shot with 23.9 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio to lift the Lakers over the Spurs 89-85. Bryant scored 25 points in the second half, en route to a 27-point performance at the STAPLES Center. He led Los Angeles’ second half comeback, as they rallied from a 20-point deficit to win. The Lakers eventually won the series in five games and advanced to the NBA Finals.
May 23, 1987
The Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 122-121 in a thrilling Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The killer tandem of James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 39 and 28 points, respectively. The Lakers went on to sweep the series and advance to the NBA Finals, where they eventually defeated the Boston Celtics in six games.
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 February 16-22, over their 66-year history.
February 16, 1972
Wilt Chamberlain scored his 30,000th point in a 110-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns. He became the first NBA player in history to reach this plateau. Chamberlain finished his playing career in 1973 as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 31,419 points. Chamberlain has since been passed on the all-time scoring list and currently sits in fifth place.
February 16, 1992
Magic Johnson’s number 32 was retired during the halftime ceremony of a Lakers-Celtics game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. Johnson joined Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Lakers’ history at the time to have their jerseys retired. Johnson and the other greats have since been joined by James Worthy, Gail Goodrich, Jamaal Wilkes, and Shaquille O’Neal.
February 17, 2004
Kobe Bryant scored a tie-breaking layup with 31.8 seconds left in regulation to lift the Lakers over the Portland Trailblazers 89-86 in Los Angeles. Bryant finished with a game-high 31 points, including his team’s last five. He also added eight rebounds and 10 assists, just falling short of a triple-double. Shaquille O’Neal added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers in the win.
February 22, 2002
Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning jump shot over George Lynch, as the Lakers defeated the Charlotte Hornets 96-94 in North Carolina. Bryant finished the game with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Shaquille O’Neal led Los Angeles with 31 points.
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 December 8-14, over their 66-year history.
December 8, 2000
Shaquille O’Neal broke a 40-year-old NBA record, previously held by Wilt Chamberlain, when he went 0 for 11 from the free throw line in a loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. Chamberlain previously set the record when he went 0 for 10 from the charity stripe against the Detroit Pistons on November 4, 1960.
December 10, 1995
James Worthy’s No. 42 jersey was retired at halftime against the Detroit Pistons at the Great Western Forum. He became just the sixth player in Lakers’ history to enjoy this honor. The three-time NBA champion played all 12 of his NBA seasons with the Lakers, while averaging 17.6 points per game during his career. Worthy was a seven-time NBA All-Star and the 1988 NBA Finals MVP.
December 12, 1971
The Lakers won their 21st straight game, when they beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-95 at the Great Western Forum, setting a new NBA record for most consecutive wins. The previous record of 20 straight wins was held by both the Washington Capitols and Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers’ unprecedented streak continued for twelve more games, as they set an NBA record for most consecutive victories at 33, which still holds today.
December 12, 1984
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the first player in NBA history to exceed 32,000 career points, when he dropped 15 points in a 131-107 Lakers win over the Golden State Warriors.
December 14, 1962
Elgin Baylor totaled 50 points for the Lakers, while Wilt Chamberlain scored 63 points for the San Francisco Warriors, in a 120-118 Lakers victory. This was one of only three times in NBA history that two players from opposing teams had scored at least 50 points in the same contest.
December 14, 1975
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set an NBA record with 29 defensive rebounds, when the Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons 110-100. Abdul-Jabbar shares the record for most consecutive seasons (2) leading the league in defensive rebounds, when he set the standard in both the 1975-76 and 1976-77 seasons. “Cap” also set the record for most defensive rebounds in a single season during the 1975-76 campaign, with 1,111.
January 16th, 2013 – The 9th Annual Lakers All-Access event at STAPLES Center was a great opportunity for fans to interact with their favorite team. The night included a shoot around on the Lakers’ court, a photo opportunity with the championship trophies and Lakers girls, as well as a silent auction for autographed memorabilia.
The event concluded with two separate panels discussions, both moderated by Voice-of-the-Lakers Bill Macdonald. The first panel consisted of Laker Legends: General Manager Mitch Kupchak, Robert Horry, James Worthy and Jamaal Wilkes. The second panel consisted of present Lakers: head coach Mike D’Antoni and players Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake. The following is a brief recap of the important quotes from the panel discussions:
When Kobe’s on the weak side, he needs to start paying attention to where the ball is and not be flying around thinking he’s just some ‘stealth bomber’ and he can get steals all the time.
- Wants to see Pau Gasol continue coming off the bench for the rest of the season; says Gasol should watch tape of Manu Ginobli and James Harden to understand how to be an effective sixth man.
- Frustrates both him and his Time Warner Cable Sports Net co-host, James Worthy, to see a team with so much talent, struggle so much early on.
- Would like to see the NBA take out the zone defense: “If you can’t play man-to-man defense, then go home.”
If you ever tried to block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s hook shot, you would probably need facial reconstruction surgery when you were done from his elbows.
- Enjoys receiving feedback on Twitter from fans; helps shape direction on TWCSN telecasts.
- Wants to see Kobe Bryant get cleaner shots and not force shots as much on offense when he as such great teammates around him. Mentioned both Blake and Steve Nash as great shooters.
- Would like to see the NBA go back to just two referees; game was more fun and more up-tempo because of less calls, and players could get away with more off the ball.
- Wants to see consistency from game-to-game with Gasol being implemented back into the lineup.
If the Lakers make the playoffs, I wouldn’t want to be the team that has to play them.
- Shared the fact that he learned how to shoot in such a unique way at about 11 or 12 years old: “No one wanted to mess with it when I got to high school.”
- When Wilkes arrived at UCLA, coach John Wooden said that as long as it had good backspin, rolled off his fingertips and went in the basket, then there was nothing that needed to be changed.
- The NBA used to be more physical, but that physicality was accepted more back then, which is the main difference in the league, past and present.
- Wouldn’t count out the Lakers. They’re not panicking and seems like they’re figuring more things out now, called them “shell-shocked” initially.
The Western Conference is a much tougher conference these days. We have to win 3 out of every 4 games going forward, not 2 out of every 4, and be playing well come April.
- Kupchak preached patience; thinks this season would be a much different story without the multitude of injuries the Lakers have suffered so far.
- If he had to pick one player to start a franchise with, besides Michael Jordan, it would be Kareem. Cited “The Captain’s” great skill for a big man as well as his longevity of spending 20 years in the NBA.
- One rule that the NBA has discussed implementing is the European goal-tending rule; Kupchak doesn’t like the rule personally.
The fans are better here in Los Angeles than they were in New York. In New York, they’re with you until the 3rd quarter then they’re against you.
- On Steve Blake: great, smart basketball player and he’s tough as nails. Excited to coach him because he believes Blake will pick up the system quickly.
- His experience playing in Italy was wonderful; traveled everywhere with his team and it made him into a different person.
- Doesn’t know whom he’s talking to sometimes between Ron Artest and Metta World Peace; says that he tends to switch between identities often.
- Still thinks it’s early in the season, hopes they’ve turned it around now. Still have steps to go, but likes where the energy and effort are on a nightly basis.
- Defensively they’ve found a couple things that work well and they’ll run with them. Energy is not an issue as the players bring it every night.
- Kind of hit rock bottom but have learned how to get through the rough parts and turn them into positives. Did that vs. Milwaukee and Cleveland.
- Players must have great chemistry and trust each other on the court. Guys must understand their role as well, which is simply to play hard, shoot when you’re open and then run back down the floor.
- Hates when players complain about touches or about their role on the team; the “ball finds energy” and everyone has the same role on the team (to play as hard as you can and shoot when you’re in the game).
If I had to change my name, [like World Peace did], I would probably change it to Denzel. I looked like a young Denzel Washington back in the day.
- Loves playing in LA and has had “an unbelievable experience here.” Especially likes seeing all the Lakers fans on the road.
- Felt like he deserved to be on a historic franchise such as the Lakers after 14 years in the league. Chose the Lakers because they “value championships over everything else.”
- Determined that Mike D’Antoni and his brother, assistant coach Dan D’Antoni, can’t be related because of their polar opposite personalities; says that it makes for an interesting locker room.
- Spacing and timing are the keys to making everything come together effectively this season: “Look at the personnel, it’s almost impossible to stop us.”
- By doing the things that D’Antoni preaches, it creates more opportunities for everyone. Trusting both the system and each other has opened the players’ eyes to just how good they can be collectively.
I love playing in LA and hopefully I’ll continue to have success here. I hope to be Laker for a long time.
Injury update: Blake will receive a cortisone shot on Sunday to treat his recent groin issue. Blake has recovered from the abdominal surgery but must take care of his groin trouble before returning to the court.
- Likes seeing his teammates “buy-in” to D’Antoni’s system and trust each other on both ends of the floor; seems like they’re playing more “playoff-style basketball” of late.
- Nice to see guys stepping up when others go down with injuries. Especially likes seeing his teammates “not taking any possessions off.”
LakerNation: Be sure to be on the lookout for next year’s ‘Annual Lakers All-Access’ event sometime in January 2014. It is definitely a great opportunity for fans to gain a personal, behind-the-scenes look at your Los Angeles Lakers!