Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.
DECEMBER 31, 1967
SAN DIEGO ROCKETS 118 – LA LAKERS 147
LAKERS BLOW OUT ROCKETS IN FIRST GAME IN NEW FORUM
After playing for seven seasons in the Los Angeles Sports Arena, the popularity of the Lakers had grown too large to house the team in the older venue. Thus, in 1965, Jack Kent Cooke, the then-owner of the Lakers, would break ground on the Roman-style Forum. Housing the Los Angeles Kings and Lakers, the Forum would house six NBA championships during its time as the home arena for the Lakers, where Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and “Showtime” gained international attention for The Forum.
The Forum, which was renamed The Great Western Forum in 1988, served as the Lakers’ home court from Dec. 31, 1967 to May 23, 1999. Featuring yellow-and-orange seats and a yellow-spoked roof, the arena featured no luxury seating, though the arena was able to boast that none of the 17,505 seats in the arena was no more than 170 feet from the court.
The Lakers would christen their new arena with a win over the newly-added expansion San Diego Rockets in a 147-118 blowout, at the expense of a Rockets team who had used their first overall pick in the draft that year on future Lakers head coach Pat Riley.
Fact of the Night: The Great Western Forum was built for $16 million from 1965-67 – the equivalent of $105 million in 2011 dollars. For some perspective, the total salary of the 2011-2012 Lakers comes to nearly $85 million.