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Jerry West

AP/Kevork Djansezian

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 July, over their 66-year history, in this off-season version of “A Blast from the Past.”

July 8, 2009

The Lakers signed free agent Ron Artest following their 2009 championship-winning season. The 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year was an integral part of Los Angeles’ second consecutive NBA championship the following campaign.

July 9, 1968

The great Wilt Chamberlain was traded to the Lakers from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. Chamberlain spent the remaining five seasons of his NBA career with the purple and gold, helping them win the 1972 NBA championship.

Getty Images
Getty Images

July 14, 2004

The Shaq-Kobe era came to a close in Los Angeles, as Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Cook, and a first-round draft pick. In Shaq’s eight seasons with the Lakers, the team won three-straight NBA titles and O’Neal picked up the Finals MVP award in each of those championship series. With the Lakers, O’Neal averaged 27.0 points and 11.8 rebounds.

July 16, 2003

Los Angeles signed highly-touted free agents Karl Malone and Gary Payton. At the time, both veteran players were in search of an elusive NBA title. After failing to accomplish their shared goal in the 2003-04 season, the duo’s short-lived experiment with the Lakers was over. Malone retired in 2004 without ever winning a championship, while Payton signed on with the Heat for the final go-around of his career and helped them to the title in 2006.

July 18, 1996

In one of the greatest free-agency signings in NBA history, Jerry West and the Lakers signed Shaquille O’Neal away from the Orlando Magic. The summer of 1996 marked the formation of the greatest dynamic duo in Lakers’ history, as O’Neal and Kobe Bryant joined forces in Los Angeles.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Image

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.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

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.

Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images
Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images
Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images

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 1-7, over their 66-year history.

June 2, 1985

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surpassed Jerry West (4,457 points) to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in playoff history after scoring 26 points in a 136-111 rout of the Celtics in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers went on to win the series and the title in six games. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with 5,762 points in the playoffs. Michael Jordan eventually passed Abdul-Jabbar in 1998 for most playoff points in NBA history with 5,987 in his career.

June 3, 1984

Magic Johnson set an NBA Finals record that still stands when he dished out 21 assists in a 137-104 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the championship series. The Lakers eventually fell to the Celtics in seven games.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

June 4, 1987

The Lakers set a then-Finals record when they shot 61.5% from the field during a 141-122 win over the Celtics in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. In the same game, Michael Cooper also set a then-Finals record by sinking six three-pointers. Currently, both records rank second-best in NBA Finals history.

June 7, 2000

Shaquille O’Neal scored 43 points and collected 19 rebounds in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, in which the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 104-87. O’Neal connected for his 43 points on 21 field goals, which was one short of the NBA Finals record of 22, held by both Elgin Baylor and Rick Barry. O’Neal became one of only five players in NBA history (Baylor, Barry, Jerry West, and Michael Jordan) to convert at least 21 field goal attempts in a Finals game.

Robert Sullivan/Getty Images

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 4-10, over their 66-year history.

May 6, 1970

The Lakers set an NBA Finals field goal percentage record (.606), as they converted 57 of 94 field goal attempts during a 135-113 Game 6 win over the Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain led the way with 45 points, while Jerry West added 33. This NBA Finals record lasted for 15 years.

May 6, 1996

Laker-great Gail Goodrich was one of six people inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. Goodrich took his place in the Hall 17 years after his illustrious NBA career ended in 1979. For his career, Goodrich was a five-time NBA All-Star and a member of the 1974 All-NBA team. He still ranks as the third all-time leading scorer among lefties in NBA history. Goodrich won his one and only NBA championship with the Lakers in 1972.

Wen Roberts/NBAE/Getty Images
Wen Roberts/NBAE/Getty Images

May 6, 1997

Robert Horry set an NBA playoff record going 7 for 7 on three-point field goal attempts in a 103-101 loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Horry totaled 21 points for the game, all from three-pointers.

May 7, 1972

The Lakers captured their first NBA championship since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Led by Finals MVP Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the Lakers defeated the New York Knicks in five games to capture the franchise’s sixth championship.

May 8, 1988

The Lakers held the Utah Jazz to an NBA playoff record-low eight points in the first quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers eventually won the game 110-91, and the series, in seven games.

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

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 April 27-May 3, over their 66-year history.

April 29, 1970

Jerry West knocked down a legendary 63-foot buzzer-beater to send Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals to overtime against the New York Knicks. Although the Knicks would eventually win the game and NBA title, this moment remains one of the best in Lakers’ NBA Finals history.

April 29, 1990

Pat Riley recorded his 100th career playoff victory as a head coach, with a 104-100 Laker-win over the Houston Rockets. With the win, Riley broke Red Auerbach’s previous record of 99. Riley won four NBA championships as the head coach of the Lakers between 1981 and 1990.

Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

April 30, 2006

Kobe Bryant hit a game-tying runner with seven-tenths of a second left in regulation, and then a 17-foot jump shot as time expired in overtime, to give the Lakers a 99-98 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs. This victory gave the Lakers a 3-1 advantage in the series, which they eventually lost in seven games. Bryant finished with 24 points in his heroic performance.

May 1, 1970

The Lakers defeated the Knicks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals 121-115, after the highest scoring overtime in NBA playoff history. Los Angeles outscored New York 22-16 in the extra period, and Jerry West led the way for the Lakers with 37 points in the game. The Lakers eventually lost the best-of-seven-series to the Knicks in seven games.

Getty Images

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 April 20-26, over their 66-year history.

April 23, 1950

The Lakers won back-to-back NBA Championships for the first time in league history. They bested the Syracuse Nationals in six games in the 1950 NBA Finals.

April 23, 1969

Jerry West scored 53 points to lift the Lakers passed the Celtics in Game 1 of the 1969 NBA Finals. West’s 53 points are the second most in NBA Finals history by a guard, second only to Michael Jordan’s 55 points against the Suns in Game 4 of the 1993 Finals. Los Angeles ultimately fell to Boston in the 1969 Finals in seven games.

Vernon Biever/Getty Images
Vernon Biever/Getty Images

April 23, 1989

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played the final game of his NBA career, as the Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics, 121-117. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with the NBA record for points and games played with 38,387 and 1,560, respectively.

April 25, 1965

The Lakers defeated the Baltimore Bullets in six games in the 1965 Western Division Finals, as Jerry West averaged 46.3 points per game in the series. West recorded the highest scoring average for a playoff series in NBA history, after scoring at least 40 points in each of the six games played. The Lakers eventually lost to the Celtics in five games in the NBA Finals.

April 25, 2004

Kobe Bryant converted an eventual game-winning three-point play with a layup and a made-free throw with 40 seconds remaining in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round against the Houston Rockets. Bryant scored six of his 18 points in overtime, while 40-year-old Karl Malone led the way for the Lakers with 30 points and 13 rebounds. The win gave the Lakers a three games to one series lead. They eventually won the series in five games, and advanced to the NBA Finals, before falling to the Pistons.

 

Darryl Norenberg/WireImage

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 April 13-19, over their 66-year history.

April 13, 1949

George Mikan led the Lakers to their first-ever NBA Championship, as they defeated the Syracuse Nationals in six games to claim the title.

April 14, 1962

Elgin Baylor set an NBA Finals record with 61 points when the Lakers defeated the Celtics 126-121 in Game 5 at the Boston Garden. Baylor recorded 11 straight 30-point plus scoring performances for Los Angeles in the playoffs, setting an NBA record. Despite Baylor’s heroic efforts, the Lakers eventually fell to the Celtics in seven games.

Bob Flora/Bettmann/CORBIS
Bob Flora/Bettmann/CORBIS

April 14, 1976

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won his fourth NBA MVP award following a season in which he averaged 27.7 points per game. Abdul-Jabbar led the NBA in rebounds per game with 16.9 and blocks per game with 4.1. He finished his illustrious NBA career with six total MVP awards, which is the most by any player in NBA history.

April 14, 2004

Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer buzzer-beater in double overtime to give the Lakers a 105-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on the final day of the regular season. More importantly, the win clinched the Pacific Division title for the Lakers, and gave them the second seed in the Western Conference in the playoffs. Bryant, who finished with 37 points and eight rebounds, also hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

April 15, 1991

Magic Johnson became the NBA’s all-time assists leader after dishing out 19 assists in a 112-106 Lakers’ win over the Dallas Mavericks at the Great Western Forum. He surpassed Oscar Robertson with 9,898 assists to claim the top spot. Johnson finished his career with 10,141 assists, which currently ranks fifth on the NBA all-time list.

April 17, 1966

Jerry West led the Lakers to a 133-129 come-from-behind victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 1966 NBA Finals. West scored 41 points, as Los Angeles erased a 34-20 deficit at the end of the first quarter, which is the largest first quarter deficit ever overcome in the NBA Finals. The Celtics eventually won the series in seven games.

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Photo: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

According to ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne, the Lakers have agreed on a multiyear extension with general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Kupchak has been the Lakers’ GM since he took over for Jerry West in 2000.

This extension is a strong signal that Kupchak’s role on the struggling franchise remains solidified, and is a reflection of the esteem in which he is held by the Buss family.

The timing of the extension is also effectively a vote of confidence to reflect the Buss families’ trust in him to shape the future of the organization, sources told Shelburne.

Associated Press

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 April 6-12, over their 66-year history.

April 6, 2003

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning shot with 28.6 seconds left in overtime to lift the Lakers over the Phoenix Suns 115-113 in overtime at the STAPLES Center. Bryant also hit the game-tying shot with 14.2 seconds left in regulation. He finished with 26 points and eight rebounds for the three-time defending NBA champions. With the victory, Los Angeles clinched a spot in the 2003 NBA playoffs.

April 6, 2007

Kobe Bryant’s 31 second half points lifted the Lakers to a come-from-behind win against the Seattle SuperSonics, 112-109. Bryant finished with 46 points in this crucial victory for the Lakers in their playoff push, as he reached the 40-point mark for the 16th time that season. Los Angeles got 33 points from its bench, including 11 from Brian Cook and 10 from Ronny Turiaf. The Lakers would eventually make the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images
NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images

April 12, 1954

The Minneapolis Lakers won the first three-peat in NBA history after defeating the Syracuse Nationals 87-80 in Game Seven of the 1954 NBA Finals. George Mikan led the Lakers to their fifth NBA title in six years after averaging 19.4 points per game and 13.2 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Mikan would retire at the end of the of the 1954 season, only to return for 37 games in 1956 before hanging up his sneakers for good.

April 10, 1962

With three seconds left in Game Three of the 1962 NBA Finals against the Celtics, Jerry West stole Sam Jones’ inbounds pass at midcourt and raced to the basket for the game-winning layup to lift the Lakers over Boston 117-115. Although Los Angeles would eventually lose the NBA Finals in seven games, West became the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award on the losing team.

April 11, 1960

The Minneapolis Lakers selected Jerry West as the second overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. West would go on to make the All-Star team in each of his 14 NBA seasons, all spent with the Lakers. His lone NBA championship as a player was won in 1972.

Vince Compagnone/Los Angeles Times

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 March 23-29, over their 66-year history.

March 23, 1999

Dick Enroth, the original radio voice of the Minneapolis Lakers, died from cancer at the age of 80. Enroth was the Lakers’ radio play-by-play voice from 1947-1959, during which the team won four NBA championships. He was known as the “fastest-talking sportscaster in the Twin Cities” during his tenure with the Lakers.

March 24, 1970

Jerry West won the NBA scoring title after leading the Lakers with 2,309 points in 74 regular season games. This was the first and only time in West’s illustrious career that he won the scoring title. West averaged 31.2 points per game during the 1969-70 season.

March 26, 1972

The Lakers ended the 1971-72 regular season with the best record in NBA history after defeating Seattle 124-98. Los Angeles finished with a 69-13 record and a .841 winning percentage. Their record would hold as the best in NBA history until the 1995-96 season, when the Chicago Bulls finished the regular season with a 72-10 record and a .878 winning percentage.

Getty Images
Getty Images

March 27, 1994

Magic Johnson made his head coaching debut with the Lakers when they defeated Milwaukee 110-101 at The Forum. Los Angeles went 5-11 during Johnson’s 16 games as head coach.

March 28, 1973

Wilt Chamberlain finished his career with a then-NBA record of 1,045 consecutive games without disqualification. Chamberlain did not foul out of any games over the course of his 14 NBA seasons. His consecutive games without disqualification streak ended when Moses Malone broke the record with 1,212 straight games without fouling out.

March 28, 1982

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in his 1,000th regular season game, when the Lakers beat the Kings 109-96 in Kansas City. Abdul-Jabbar became just the 15th player in NBA history at the time to do so.

March 29, 1952

George Mikan set a then-NBA playoff record for points when he scored 47 against the Rochester Royals in Game One of the Western Division Finals. Despite Mikan’s efforts, the Lakers lost the game 88-78.

March 29, 1962

Elgin Baylor and Jerry West became the first set of NBA teammates to each score 40 or more points in a playoff game. Baylor scored 45 and West contributed 41, but the Lakers lost a heartbreaker to Detroit in the Western Division Finals, 118-117.

Getty Images

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.

Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

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.

Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/ NBAE/ Getty Images

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 26-February 1, over their 66-year history.

January 29, 1980

Norm Nixon set a then-NBA record for most minutes played in a single game with 64, when the Lakers fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 154-153 in quadruple overtime. Nixon’s record was tied in 1987 by Sleepy Floyd of the Golden State Warriors, and later broken by Dale Ellis of the Seattle SuperSonics in 1989, when he played for 69 minutes in a five-overtime game against Milwaukee.

January 30, 1996

Magic Johnson shocked the NBA with his return to the league after having been retired from playing basketball since he announced that he had contracted HIV in 1992. In his first game back on the floor with the Lakers, Johnson scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out 10 assists to help the Lakers defeat the Golden State Warriors 128-118 at the Great Western Forum. At 36 years old, Johnson played the final 32 games of the 1995-96 season, while averaging 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists during that stretch. Johnson was an assistant coach with the Lakers in 1994 before returning to the hardwood. He retired from playing for good in 1996.

Dick Raphael /NBAE/Getty Images
Dick Raphael /NBAE/Getty Images

January 31, 2010

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning shot over Ray Allen with 7.3 seconds left in regulation to lift the Lakers over the Boston Celtics 90-89 at the TD Garden. This victory marked Los Angeles’ fourth consecutive win, and third straight against Boston. Despite trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, the Lakers rallied behind Bryant and their big men down low, outscoring Boston 18-0 on points in the paint in the fourth quarter. Bryant finished the game with 19 points, while Andrew Bynum also dropped 19 points and collected 11 rebounds. Pau Gasol added 11 points and 11 rebounds. With his 19 points, Kobe Bryant moved within 28 points of Jerry West’s all-time Lakers’ record of 25,192, for most points scored in franchise history.

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Photo: Getty Images

Magic Johnson might have sold his share of the Lakers franchise a little over three years ago, but he still likes to share his opinion when it comes to his old team.

According to Mike James of the LA Times, during a meeting with Dodgers officials and media members, Johnson gave his two cents:

“This is what happens when you make the wrong decisions, two coaching wrong decisions, giving Steve Nash that deal, it’s backfired,”

“The biggest problem they’re going to have right now…you’ve got to get a guy like Jerry West to be the face of the team…you’ve got to have someone helping Jim. He’s got to quit trying to prove a point to everybody that he can do it on his own, get his ego out of it, and just say, ‘Let me get someone beside me to help achieve the goals I want.’ Dr. Buss was smart, he said, ‘I’m going to get the best dude, Jerry West, and he helped me achieve my goals. Then I went and got the best coach [Phil Jackson].’ He wanted to work with the best.”

Jerry West is currently a consultant for the Golden State Warriors, but Lakers fans may be asking themselves, ‘what about Jim’s General Manager, Mitch Kupchak?’

“Mitch is great,” Johnson said, “but he doesn’t have the power…you need to get someone like Jerry to be the face, so agents are comfortable, players are comfortable, knowing the Lakers are going for a championship…look what Pat Riley did in Miami…if Pat Riley’s not there, you don’t get LeBron to buy in.”

Johnson also lamented the idea that free agents haven’t been pining to come to the Lakers like they used to.

“Everybody’s telling me free agents don’t want to sign [with the Lakers]…they’re looking at the Lakers now as a team that’s dysfunctional; who’s their leader, who’s the guy?”

Johnson brings up a very good point. The Lakers used to bring in talent easily because they had the resources to attract the star power. What Magic fails to realize is that there is a new CBA in place and things just aren’t the same as they used to be. Especially not for the Purple and Gold.

Johnson also seems to be back tracking from his thoughts of Jim Buss after the Lakers landed Nash and Dwight Howard last summer.

“I love it. Jim, you look like your father; I’m proud of you. He’s definitely the guy now to win the NBA executive-of-the-year award.”

Flip. Flop.

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.

Ken Levine/Getty Images
Ken Levine/Getty Images

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.

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Julius Randle's devastating injury brings an uncertain immediate future to the Los Angeles Lakers.