The NBA Los Angeles Lakers: Champions of the Court

The NBA Los Angeles Lakers: Champions of the Court

When you think of success in the National Basketball Association (NBA), few teams come to mind more quickly than the Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout their existence, the Lakers have consistently found themselves competing for championships and entering the postseason. Dating all the way back to 1947 as the Minneapolis Lakers, the team has managed to capture 16 NBA Championships, 31 Conference Titles, and 23 Division Titles.

The Early Years

The original Minneapolis Lakers began in 1947 as part of the National Basketball League. The team was founded by Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen, who originally set out to give the city of Minneapolis its first professional sports team. Despite not having any superstars on the roster, the Lakers dominated their competition from the outset, winning their first NBL title in 1948. After the NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America, the Lakers went on to claim an impressive five championships in the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball Association (NBA) between 1949 and 1954.

The Move to Los Angeles

In 1960, the Lakers made the switch to Los Angeles and the franchise exploded. With the help of superstar Elgin Baylor and head coach Bill van Breda Kolff, the Lakers advanced to the NBA Finals in 1962. Although they lost to the Boston Celtics, the Lakers continued to be a powerhouse team and a mainstay in the Finals throughout the 1960s. Finally, in 1972, the Lakers captured their first championship in Los Angeles after defeating the New York Knicks in the Finals.

The Showtime Era

The next big era of success for the Lakers was the “Showtime” era of the 1980s. Led by superstars like Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Lakers advanced to eight Finals from 1980 to 1988 and won five NBA Championships. The Lakers also added other notable players like Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, and A.C. Green to the roster, and easily outmatched their competition due to their size and skill.

The Kobe & Shaq Years

The 2000s brought even more accomplishments to the Lakers’ storied franchise. With the arrival of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, the team posted a 25-game winning streak that lasted from February to April of 2001 before eventually falling to the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite the loss, the core led by Kobe and Shaq pushed the franchise to three consecutive NBA titles and an overall 11-year streak of reaching the postseason.

Star Studded Success

During the 2010s, the Lakers added superstars like Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, and continued their success with back to back championships in 2009 and 2010. Though, despite their impressive run in the playoffs, their streak came to an end in 2012. After several years of rebuilding, the Lakers returned to the playoffs in 2020 with the help of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and other notable players.

Looking Ahead

Today, the Lakers remain one of the most successful teams in the NBA. Although they weren’t able to reach the Finals in 2020, they’re primed to once again compete for an NBA championship in 2021. And with the help of superstars like Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Kyle Kuzma, the team looks to stay competitive and contending in the years to come.

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