Los Angeles Lakers

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Posted by r2d2 02/25/2009 @ 20:15

Tags : los angeles lakers, western conference teams, nba teams, nba, basketball, sports

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers 118, Houston 78 - United Press International
Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Farmar drives the baseline against Houston Rockets' Chuck Hayes during Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals at Staples Center in Los Angeles on May 12, 2009. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 118-78 to lead the...
Los Angeles Lakers Houston Rockets Game 5 Predictions - BetFirms
The Houston Rockets might of loss another star piece to their team, with Yao Ming out for the rest of the season, but they weren't about to lose game 4 at home, as the Rockets took down the Los Angeles Lakers 99-87 to even the series at 2 games a piece...
On the Mark: How Manny can appease the fans - FOXSports.com
The proceeds could then go toward refurbishing the Los Angeles area ballparks that CEO Jamie mccourt is always talking about. Who knows? Manny could even get a couple of fields named after him. In the meantime, Ramirez isn't talking....
NBA Today - SI.com
-Kobe Bryant, Lakers, scored 26 points in just three quarters to lead Los Angeles to a 118-78 victory over Houston. -Glen Davis, Celtics, scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston rally from a 14-point deficit in the final period....
Buss, Moreno earn high marks in SI report - Bizjournals.com
The owners of Los Angeles' two basketball teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum, according to a report on Sports Illustrated's Web site highlighting the best and worst owners in the four major sports. Lakers owner Jerry Buss was ranked as the top...
Los Angeles Lakers: 2009 NBA Draft - CollegeHoopsnet.com
The Lakers certainly have some important pieces who could be gone next year, but when it's all said and done, they'll still likely be the class of the Western Conference. Kobe (who isn't going anywhere), Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are a good place for...
NBA: Houston 100, Los Angeles Lakers 92 - United Press International
LOS ANGELES, May 5 (UPI) -- Yao Ming had 28 points and 10 rebounds Monday to lead Houston past the Los Angeles Lakers 100-92 in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series. Yao went to the locker room briefly after injuring his knee in the...
The Sports Network - MiamiHerald.com
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant headline the All-NBA First Team, the league announced Wednesday. James, the NBA's MVP for the 2008-09 season, was a unanimous choice in voting by a panel of 122...
Is Rihanna's New Track Aimed Directly at Chris Brown? - Popeater
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file) AP Los Angeles Lakers Center, and Rihanna's boyfriend, Andrew Bynum leaving Bank of America. April 20, 2009 X17online.com exclusive Los Angeles Lakers Center, and Rihanna's boyfriend, Andrew Bynum leaving Bank of America....
Kawakami: Time to reassess after landscape-changing weekend - San Jose Mercury News
The Lakers let the Rockets run all over them, anyway. Two things gave the Rockets life: Yao's absence turned up their sense of desperation, and Derek Fisher's return to the Los Angeles lineup from a one-game suspension slowed the Lakers....

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers logo

The Los Angeles Lakers are a National Basketball Association (NBA) team based in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, which they share with their fellow NBA rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, and their sister team, the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.

The Lakers' franchise was founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan before moving to Minneapolis, where the team got its official title from the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes." The Lakers won five championships before relocating to Los Angeles in the 1960–61 NBA season. The Lakers lost all of their eight appearances in the NBA Finals in the 1960s, despite having help from Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. In 1972, the Lakers won their sixth title under coach Bill Sharman. The Lakers' popularity soared in the 1980s when they won five additional championships during a nine-year span with the leadership of Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and coach Pat Riley, the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Two of those championships during that span were against their arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics. With the help of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers played in five of the nine NBA Finals in the 2000s, winning three of them consecutively from 2000 to 2002 and losing the last two in 2004 and, most recently, the 2008 NBA Finals without O'Neal.

The Lakers hold records for having (at the end of the 2007–08 season) the most wins (2,905), the highest winning percentage (61.5%), the most NBA Finals appearances (29), the fewest non-playoff seasons with five (tied with San Antonio Spurs), and the second-most NBA championships with 14, behind the Boston Celtics' 17. They also hold the record for compiling the longest consecutive win streak (33) in U.S. professional team sports (also an NBA record) in the 1971–72 season. 14 Hall of Famers have played for the Lakers, while four Hall of Famer (John Kundla, Bill Sharman, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson) have coached the team. Four Lakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant) have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award.

The Lakers began in 1946 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000. The team was relocated to Minneapolis for the 1947 season. The Lakers, who already had a solid roster with forward Jim Pollard and playmaker Herm Schaefer, added center George Mikan, who quickly became the most dominant player in the game. With Mikan leading the way during their first year, the Lakers won their division by 13 games with a 43–17 record. In the 1949 BAA Championship the Lakers continued their dominance, beating the Washington Capitols three games to one. The following season, the team improved to 44–24, winning the Western Division. In the playoffs, the team defeated the Indianapolis Olympians in three games but lost to the Rochester Royals in the next round.

In the 1951–52 season the Lakers won 40 games, finishing second in its division. Facing the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, the Lakers won in seven games. With a 48–22 record in the 1952–53 season, the team went to the NBA Finals again after defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons in the Western Finals. The team won their second straight championship over The Knicks. Though Lakers star George Milkan suffered from knee problem throughout the 1953–54 season, he was still able to average 18 points per game. Clyde Lovellette, who was drafted in 1952 was able to help the team win the Western Division, along with Milkan. The team was able to win their third straight championship in the '50s when they defeated the Syracuse Nationals in seven games. Following Milkan's retirement in the 1954 offseason, the team struggled but still managed to win 40 games. Although defeating the Royals in the first round, the Lakers were defeated by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the next round. For the rest of the fifties, the team failed to average above .500 and never returned to the Finals.

In their last year in Minneapolis, the Lakers went 25–50 and won the number two pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. The team selected Jerry West from West Virginia University. During the 1960 offseason, the Lakers became the NBA's first West Coast team when the owner, Bob Short, decided to move the team to Los Angeles. Although the team featured Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Gail Goodrich, the attendance fell dramatically in their first five years in Los Angeles and the team lost the NBA Finals four times to the Boston Celtics in five seasons. The Lakers moved to a brand-new arena, The Forum, in 1967, after playing seven seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. That season saw the team repeating its pattern, losing to the Celtics in the 1968 NBA Finals.

On July 9, 1968, the team acquired Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers for Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. The Lakers and Celtics met again in the finals, and the Lakers had the home court advantage for the first time. They could not get past their rivals, however, and lost in seven games; the Celtics emerged from the series with their 11th NBA Championship in 13 seasons. Jerry West was named the first-ever Finals MVP; this remains the only time that a member of the losing team has won the award. In 1970 the team returned to the finals, and for the first time, they did not have to face the Celtics; instead the team met the New York Knicks, who defeated them 4–3. The next season the Lakers were defeated by the Milwaukee Bucks, led by future Laker Lew Alcindor (now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) in the Western Conference Finals.

The 1971–72 season brought several changes. Owner Jack Kent Cooke brought in Bill Sharman as the new coach, and Elgin Baylor announced his retirement early in the season after realizing that his legs were not healthy enough. The team, however, still won 14 straight games in November and 16 straight games in December. The team then won three straight to open the year of 1972 but on January 9, the Milwaukee Bucks ended the streak by defeating the Lakers, 120–104. By winning 33 straight games, the Lakers notched the longest winning streak of any team in American professional sports. The team won 69 games that season, setting a new NBA record for wins in a season, until the Chicago Bulls won 72 games in 1995–96. Chamberlain averaged a career-low 14.8 points but led the league in rebounding with 19.2 per game. West led the league in assists, with 9.7 assists per game, and averaged better than 25 points. At the end of the season, Bill Sharman was named NBA Coach of the Year. The Lakers eventually made it to the finals where they took revenge on the New York Knicks by winning in five games, bringing the first NBA title to Los Angeles.

During the 1972–73 NBA season, the Lakers did not match their record from their previous season, but they did clinch another Pacific Division title by winning 60 games. Wilt Chamberlain, playing in his final season, again leading the league in rebounding. The team triumphed over the Chicago Bulls after seven games during the conference semifinals but then easily defeated the Golden State Warriors in the Western Division Finals. The team then met the New York Knicks in the 1973 NBA Finals. The Lakers took the first game by three points, but the Knicks took the series in five games. Following the season, Wilt Chamberlain retired after a 15 year NBA career. For the 1973–74, the team was hampered by the loss of Jerry West, who played only 31 games before his legs finally gave out. Gail Goodrich who averaged 25.3 points, helped the team to a late-season surge. Trailing the Golden State Warriors by three games with seven left to play, the Lakers rallied to win the Pacific Division with a 47–35 record. The team advanced to the playoffs but managed only one win against the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals. Following the season, Jerry West retired, ending his 14 year playing career.

After missing the playoffs in the 1974–75 season, the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the league's premier big man at that time. Abdul-Jabbar wanted out from Milwaukee, demanding a trade to either New York or Los Angeles. He was eventually traded to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Brian Winters, Junior Bridgeman, and Dave Meyers. Abdul-Jabbar had an MVP season for the Lakers in 1975–76, leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played. The Lakers struggled in January, with a 3–10 record. At season's end, Abdul-Jabbar won the fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but the team finished out of the playoffs with a 40–42 record.

Jerry West replaced Bill Sharman as head coach during the offseason. It took another MVP season from Abdul-Jabbar to carry the team back to the top of the Pacific Division, as the Lakers finished the 1976–77 season with a league-best 53–29 record. They defeated the Warriors in a seven-game series to open the postseason before being defeated by Portland in the Western Conference Finals. During the offseason, the Lakers picked up Jamaal Wilkes from Golden State and signed first-round draft pick Norm Nixon. In the first two minutes of the first game of the 1977–78 season, Abdul-Jabbar punched Bucks Kent Benson for an overly aggressive elbow and broke his hand. The team won 45 games despite not having Abdul-Jabbar for nearly two months. During the 1978–79 season, the team posted a 47–35 record but lost to the SuperSonics in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

During the 1979 NBA Draft, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected 6'9" Earvin Johnson from Michigan State. The Lakers won 60 games in Johnson's rookie year. The Lakers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the 1980 championship series thanks to an MVP performance by the rookie Johnson, who started for the injured Abdul-Jabbar. He finished with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists en route to the Lakers' second championship in Los Angeles. The 1980–81 season was a disappointment, though, as the Lakers lost Magic Johnson for most of the season to a knee injury. The team turned in a 54–28 record and finished second behind the Phoenix Suns in the Pacific Division. But the Houston Rockets, led by Moses Malone, stunned the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Owner Jerry Buss fired coach Paul Westhead after the Lakers went 7–4 to start the 1981–82 season. Buss promoted Assistant Coach Pat Riley to head coach on November 19 and the team won 17 of its next 20 games. The Lakers took the Pacific Division title and swept both the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers then stretched its postseason winning streak to nine games by taking the first contest of the NBA Finals from the 76ers. The team won the Finals four games to two; the team's playoff record that year was 12–2. On draft night in 1982, the Lakers had the first overall pick and selected James Worthy from North Carolina. The Lakers clinched the Pacific Division with a 58–24 record, advancing to the 1983 NBA Finals by defeating Portland and San Antonio in the first two rounds. The Sixers, however, won the series and the championship in four straight games.

By the 1984–85 season, the Lakers' "Showtime" era, the most successful era in team history, was in full swing. The team won the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year. The Lakers lost game one of the NBA Finals by a lopsided score of 148–114, in what is now remembered as the "Memorial Day Massacre". The Lakers were resilient and behind 37–year old Finals MVP Abdul-Jabbar, and they were finally able to defeat Boston in six games. The team won the title in the Boston Garden, thus making the 1985 Lakers the only visiting team to ever win an NBA championship there.

In the 1985–86 season, they went 24–3 in their first 27 games and finished with 62 wins, clinching their fifth straight division title. The Houston Rockets, however, defeated the Lakers in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets won the series when Ralph Sampson hit a 20–foot jumper as time expired in game five at The Forum. The next season the Lakers accumulated 65 wins, the second-most in franchise history up to that point. Johnson then notched his last Finals MVP award as the Lakers defeated their arch rival Celtics in the finals, highlighted by Johnson's running "baby hook" shot to win game four at Boston Garden with two seconds remaining. Prior to the 1986–87 season, the Lakers let go of Maurice Lucas, moving A. C. Green into the starting lineup, and picked up Mychal Thompson from the San Antonio Spurs. Johnson won his first career NBA Most Valuable Player Award while leading the Lakers to a 65–17 record, the second-best mark in franchise history. Michael Cooper was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

The Lakers met the Celtics in the NBA Finals by sweeping the Denver Nuggets, losing just one game to the Golden State Warriors, and then swept the Seattle SuperSonics in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers routed the Celtics in the first two games of the Finals, and the teams then split the next four contests, giving the Lakers their second championship in three seasons. Johnson was named the NBA Finals MVP, to go with his regular-season MVP trophy. At the Lakers' championship celebration in Los Angeles, coach Riley brashly declared that the Lakers would repeat as NBA champions in the next season. During the 1987–88 season, the Lakers won, taking their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title, and subsequently meeting the Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals. The Lakers took the series in seven games, and James Worthy's triple double earned him a Finals MVP award. In the 1988–89 season, the Lakers won 57 games. The team made it to the NBA Finals, facing the Detroit Pistons again. The Pistons took advantage of the injuries of Byron Scott and Magic Johnson and took the series in four games.

On June 28, 1989, after twenty professional seasons, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement. During the 1990 offseason, 1987 Defensive Player of the Year winner Michael Cooper also announced his retirement. The team made another Finals appearance in 1991 but lost to Michael Jordan's Bulls in five games. On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson announced he had tested positive for HIV and that he would retire immediately. In their first season without Magic, they only won 43 games. In addition, they were eliminated after only four games in the first round. During the 1993–94 season, the team won only 33 games and missed the playoffs for the fourth time in franchise history.

For the next two seasons, the team made the playoffs but were eliminated in the second and first round, respectively. During the 1996 off-season, however, the Lakers signed Shaquille O'Neal and acquired rookie Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets for Vlade Divac. They used their 24th pick in the draft to select Derek Fisher. During the season, the team traded Cedric Ceballos to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry.

O'Neal led the team to a 56–26 record, their best effort since 1990–91, despite missing 31 games with a knee injury. O'Neal averaged 26.2 ppg and 12.5 rpg and finished third in the league in blocked shots (2.88 bpg) in 51 games. The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 1997 NBA Playoffs. O'Neal scored 46 points in Game 1 against the Trail Blazers, it marked the highest single-game playoff scoring output by a Laker since Jerry West scored 53 against the Celtics in 1969. In the next round, the Lakers lost four games to one.

In the 1997–98 season, O'Neal and the Lakers had the best start in franchise history, starting 11–0. O'Neal missed 20 games due to an abdominal injury. All season, the Lakers battled with Seattle for the Pacific Division title. In the final two months of the season, the Lakers won 22 of their final 25 games. With their late-season surge, the Lakers overtook Seattle atop the Pacific at 61–21. The Lakers defeated Portland three games to one, in the first-round best-of-five. In the next round, the team faced Seattle. Although Seattle won the first game, the Lakers responded with four straight wins and took the series. The Lakers were swept in four games by the Utah Jazz, being one series short of reaching the Finals for the first time since 1991.

During the middle of the 1998–99 season, All-Star guard Eddie Jones and center Elden Campbell were traded to the Charlotte Hornets. The team also acquired J. R. Reid, B. J. Armstrong, and Glen Rice. The team finished 31–19 in the shortened season, which was fourth in the Western Conference. The team defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs but were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in the next round.

Prior to the 1999–00 season, the Lakers hired former Bulls coach Phil Jackson as head coach and re-signed veterans Brian Shaw, John Salley, Ron Harper, and A. C. Green, who was with the Lakers during the "Showtime" era. The team also moved to a new arena, the Staples Center. At the start of the season, they won 31 of their first 36 games. They won 67 games, the most games since they won 65 in the 1986–87 season. The team eliminated the Sacramento Kings and the Phoenix Suns in the first two rounds of the playoffs. After taking a three games to one lead in the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers came back to force a game seven. The team was down by 15 points but went on a 19–4 run to tie the game. The Lakers won 89–84 and went to the NBA Finals. The team defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers four games to two in the 2000 NBA Finals to win their first title since 1988. The following season, the team won 11 fewer regular season games. The team, however, swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Trail Blazers in three and the Kings and Spurs in four. The team met Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals; the Sixers took game one in overtime. But the team came back, taking four in a row to clinch their second straight title. The team had a 15–1 record in the postseason, the best in NBA history. The Lakers won 58 games in the 2001–02 season but the Sacramento Kings clinched the Pacific Division. The team eliminated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, three games to none, and the San Antonio Spurs four games to one, in the second round. The team faced the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Finals; the series went to seven games, the last of which ended in a six-point overtime win in favor of the Lakers. The Lakers then achieved a three-peat by sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.

In the beginning of the 2002–03 season, they started 11–19. The team went 39–13 for the rest of the season and won 50 games. The team faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs; the Lakers took the series in six games. The team was eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs four games to two in the Western Conference Semifinals. The following offseason, the Lakers signed Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Three of the "big four", however, struggled with injuries: Shaquille O'Neal suffered from a strained calf, Karl Malone with an injured knee and Kobe Bryant with a shoulder injury. Ending up with a 56–26 record, they clinched the Pacific Division and entered the playoffs as the number two seed. They defeated the Houston Rockets, Spurs, and Timberwolves in the first three rounds of the 2004 NBA Playoffs, before they succumbed to the Detroit Pistons in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals.

During the 2004 offseason, the team entered the rebuilding phase when O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler and a first-round draft pick. The team also traded Rick Fox and Gary Payton to the Boston Celtics, for Chris Mihm, Marcus Banks, and Chucky Atkins. Derek Fisher, frustrated with losing playing time, opted out of his contract and signed with the Warriors. As Phil Jackson was not brought back to coach the team for the 2004–05 season, the team hired Rudy Tomjanovich. With only Kobe Bryant remaining on the team, they finished with a 34–48 record in 2004, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in their franchise history. Since the team failed to make the playoffs, the team was in the 2005 Draft Lottery, their first since 1994.

With the tenth overall pick, The Lakers selected Andrew Bynum, a center from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. The team also traded Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. Jackson returned to coach the team after Rudy Tomjanovich resigned midway through the previous season. On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest total in NBA history. Ending the season with a 45–37 record, the team made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. After taking a three games to one lead in the first round, the Phoenix Suns came back to take the series in seven games. In the following season, they won 26 of their first 39 games. For the rest of the season, they lost 27 of their last 43 games, including a seven game losing streak. The team was eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns again, four games to one.

After a season ending injury to Andrew Bynum in January 2008 of the 2007–08 season, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and two first round draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol and a second round draft choice. After the trade, the Lakers went on to clinch the first seed in the Western Conference with a 57–25 record. Kobe Bryant was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the first Los Angeles Lakers guard to have won the award since Magic Johnson won the award in 1990. The Lakers went to the playoffs and defeated the Denver Nuggets in four games, the Utah Jazz in six games, and the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in five games. They entered the NBA Finals for the first time in four years, facing their long-time rivals, the Boston Celtics, whom they had not played in the Finals in 21 years. The Lakers eventually lost the series in six games.

The Lakers have had a long rivalry with the Boston Celtics. They met in the NBA Finals 11 times, the Celtics have won nine while the Lakers have won two. The first meeting in the Finals was in 1959. Despite being swept by the Celtics, the Lakers managed to keep every game close in the Finals. The teams met five more times in the sixties, with the Celtics winning each time. Even though the two teams have met in the Finals three times (1984, 1985, and 1987) and have only played each other twice each season, their rivalry in the 1980s continued with renewed fervor. The 1984 series was even personified as Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson. Their most recent meeting in the finals was in 2008, where the Celtics defeated the Lakers in six games to clinch their seventeenth title.

The rivalry against the Sacramento Kings started in 2000, as the Lakers eliminated the Kings in the 2000 NBA Playoffs. During the 2002 Western Conference Finals, The Kings were up 99–97, and with two seconds remaining, Vlade Divac knocked the ball away as far away from the net as he could. Robert Horry, who waited behind the three-point line, then launched a game-winning three-pointer as time expired to give the Lakers a 100–99 victory.

In a preaseason game between the Kings and Lakers, Lakers forward Rick Fox elbowed Kings guard Doug Christie, while trying to protect the ball. Christie fell to the floor and when he got up, received a shove to the face from Fox. Christie responded with a punch to Fox's jaw and both players were separated and ejected. The players left the court through separate tunnels, but Fox ran to the Kings' end and confronted Christie.

Given the team's proximity to Hollywood, the large Lakers fanbase includes many celebrities, most of whom can regularly be seen at the Staples Center during home games. Jack Nicholson, for example, has held season tickets since the 1970s. From 2002 and 2007 the team averaged just over 18,900 fans, which was still in the top ten in the NBA. The team sold out every home game during the 2007–08 season.

Their television ratings are higher than other NBA teams; the 2008 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics drew a 9.3 rating, which were higher than the 2007 NBA Finals. According to Forbes magazine, the Lakers are the second most valuable basketball franchise in the United States, valued at approximately $584 million, surpassed only by the New York Knicks.

The Laker nickname came from the state of Minnesota being the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The team's colors are purple, gold and white. The Lakers logo consists of the team name, "Los Angeles Lakers" written in purple on top of a gold basketball. Purple uniforms are used for road games and gold uniforms are used for home games. The team also wears white jerseys for Sunday and holiday home games.

Since the Lakers were established in 1948, the team has only missed the NBA playoffs five times. The team has 14 NBA titles and has appeared in the NBA Finals 15 other times. These appearances include eight NBA Finals appearances in the 80s. The best record posted by the team was 69–13, in 1972; the worst record was 19–53, in 1957–58.

The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, located at L.A. Live in Downtown Los Angeles. The Staples Center opened in 1999 and seats up to 18,997 for Laker Games. The Staples Center is also home to fellow NBA team, Los Angeles Clippers, their sister team of the Women's National Basketball Association, the Los Angeles Sparks, the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings and the Arena Football League's Los Angeles Avengers. The arena is owned and operated by AEG and L.A. Arena Company. Before moving to Staples Center, the Lakers played their home games at The Forum in Inglewood, California for 31 years. The team played their home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in their first seven years in Los Angeles. While team played in Minneapolis, the team played their home games at the Minneapolis Auditorium, from 1947 and 1960.

The Lakers have had 16 Hall of Famers (15 players and one broadcaster) who contributed to the Lakers. The Hall of Famers include (in alphabetical order): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Connie Hawkins, Magic Johnson, Clyde Lovellette, Slater Martin, Bob McAdoo, George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, James Worthy and Jerry West. Chick Hearn was the Lakers broadcaster for 42 seasons until he died in 2002.

The Lakers have had three first overall picks in their history: Elgin Baylor (selected in 1958), Magic Johnson (selected in 1979) and James Worthy (selected in 1982). The Lakers have also had two Lottery picks in their history: Eddie Jones (selected tenth overall in 1994) and Andrew Bynum (selected tenth overall in 2005). Other draft picks include Jerry West, Gail Goodrich in the 1960s, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon in the 1970s, and A.C. Green and Vlade Divac in the 1980s, Elden Campbell, Nick Van Exel, Derek Fisher, and Devean George in the 1990s, Luke Walton, Saša Vujačić, and Ronny Turiaf in the 2000s.

There have been 21 head coaches for the Lakers franchise. The franchise won their first five NBA championships, from 1949 to 1954, all while coached by John Kundla. Pat Riley is the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Riley was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. John Kundla, Bill Sharman, and Phil Jackson have also all been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach. George Mikan, Jim Pollard, Jerry West, Pat Riley, Magic Johnson, and Kurt Rambis have all played and head coached for the Lakers.

Chick Hearn was the team's broadcaster for 41 years until his death in 2002. Hearn broadcasted 3,338 consecutive games between November 21, 1965 and December 16, 2001. Paul Sunderland, who had filled in for a couple of games while Hearn recuperated in 2001–02, was named the permanent play-by-play announcer. Stu Lantz was retained as the color commentator. Sunderland's contract expired in the summer of 2005, and the team chose not to renew it. Joel Meyers moved in alongside Lantz as the TV announcer, while Spero Dedes and former Laker player Mychal Thompson on the radio. The current teams are Dedes and Thompson on radio and Meyers and Lantz on television.

As of 2007–08, Lakers radio broadcasts are heard on KLAC in English and KWKW in Spanish. KLAC has had the team's radio broadcast rights since the 1976–77 season. Telecasts are split between KCAL-TV (road games) and Fox Sports Net West (home games), unless they are chosen for national broadcasts on ABC. KCAL has been the Lakers' over-the-air television broadcaster since 1977, dating back to when the station was the RKO General-owned KHJ-TV, which is longer than any other station currently airing NBA games. Prior to KHJ, Laker games were televised on KTLA. The team games are broadcasted in High Definition on FSN West HD, and on KCAL HD.

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History of the Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers logo (1960-1991)

The Los Angeles Lakers franchise has a long and storied history, predating the formation of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Founded in 1946, the Lakers are one of the NBA's most famous and successful franchises. As of 2006, the Lakers hold the all-time records for wins (2,806), winning percentage (61.5%), and NBA Finals appearances (29). The Lakers have won 14 NBA titles, second only to the Boston Celtics' 17. Their rosters have included some of the game's greatest players, including George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers' franchise began its existence as the Detroit Gems basketball team of the National Basketball League (NBL). The Gems were owned by C. King Boring, an entrepreneur from Dearborn, Michigan. The team played only one season in the NBL under the Gems name, posting a 4-40 record on the court and equally dismal results financially.

In 1947, Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Gems from Boring for $15,000. Boring would go on to own the Vagabond Kings, a professional team that found much more success barnstorming in the late '40s and early '50s than the Gems had found playing in the NBL. Nonetheless, with the ultimate success that befell the Gems franchise in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Boring's granddaughter claims that Boring later lamented that he did not maintain a minority ownership interest in the team for himself.

Berger and Chalfen relocated the team to Minneapolis, with home games being played at both the Minneapolis Auditorium and the Minneapolis Armory. The "team" that Berger and Chalfen had actually purchased consisted only of equipment; since the team had appeared to be on the verge of folding, all of its players had already been assigned to other NBL teams. The franchise was re-christened the "Lakers" in reference to a type of cargo ship used on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. Berger and Chalfen brought in Max Winter, later to become a founder and owner of the Minnesota Vikings franchise of the National Football League, to become the Lakers' new general manager. Winter also took an ownership stake in the team, which he would maintain until he left the Lakers in 1955.

As the Gems had recorded by far the worst record in the NBL, the Lakers had the first pick in the 1947 Professional Basketball League of America dispersal draft, which they used to select George Mikan, later to become the one of the greatest centers of his time. With Mikan, new coach John Kundla and an infusion of former University of Minnesota players to replace those lost prior to the relocation, the Lakers won the NBL championship in their first season.

The next year, the Lakers switched to the 12-team Basketball Association of America (BAA) and proceeded to win its championship in that first season. As the BAA is considered the direct lineal ancestor of today's NBA, this 1949 BAA championship is recognized today as an official NBA championship for the Lakers, whereas their 1948 NBL championship is not. This technically makes the Lakers the most successful expansion team in NBA history, since the NBA does not recognize NBL records and considers the Lakers to be a 1948 expansion team.

The next year saw the merging of the BAA and NBL to form the NBA and the Lakers won their third consecutive championship on the backs of Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, and future National Football League coach Bud Grant. The Lakers' streak of championships came to an end in 1951 when they lost to the Rochester Royals in the NBA Western Division Finals. Nevertheless, they rebounded from that defeat to capture the title for the next three consecutive years, thus becoming the NBA's first "dynasty", having won five NBA/BAA championships in six years (and six championships in seven years, if their 1948 NBL title is included). In addition to Mikan and Mikkelsen, the Laker teams of these years also featured future Hall of Famers in Jim Pollard, Slater Martin, and Clyde Lovellette. As the Minneapolis Lakers, the team holds the record for the lowest-scoring NBA game ever played - with the Fort Wayne Pistons. On November 22, 1950, the final score was Pistons 19 - Lakers 18. Of course, this happened before the introduction of the shot clock.

Injuries forced Mikan to retire after the 1954 season, and the Lakers missed him dearly. Not only that, but the NBA introduced rule changes (the 24-second shot clock and a limit of six personal fouls per team per quarter), which forced them to play an entirely new style of basketball to which they were unaccustomed. Lovellette led the team in scoring, but the Lakers fared so poorly in the 1955 season that Mikan was persuaded to come out of retirement for the 1956 season. His play was not up to his former standards, however, and halfway into the season, he retired again, this time for good. The 1956 Lakers would go on to make the playoffs, only to lose to the St. Louis Hawks.

The Lakers found their way back the playoffs in 1957, where they lost to the Hawks once more. The following year was disastrous, however, as Mikan became head coach before finding he was not suited to the task. After compiling a 9–30 record, he stepped aside and was replaced by Kundla, but the Lakers found themselves last in the league that year with 19–53 record.

Last place, however, meant the first pick in the draft, and the Lakers chose wisely, picking Elgin Baylor who went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Baylor and Mikkelsen were able to lead the team past their recent nemesis, the Hawks, and into the Finals, where they fell to the then-emerging Boston Celtics, marking the beginning of their long rivalry.

1960 saw the Lakers start poorly, but they managed to make the playoffs with a meager 25–50 record, where the Hawks defeated them once more.

After Mikan's retirement, attendance at Lakers' games dropped off sharply, and not even the play of Baylor could bring audiences back. The team was nearly sold in 1957 to Kansas City interests who planned to relocated it there, before local interests headed by a businessman named Bob Short purchased the team from Berger and keep it in Minneapolis. The new ownership was unable to cure the team's financial ills, however.

In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers of Major League Baseball moved to Los Angeles and quickly became a huge financial success. Short did not fail to notice this. After considering moves to Chicago and San Francisco, Short decided to move the franchise to Los Angeles prior to the 1960–1961 season, making the Lakers the NBA's first West Coast team. The Lakers did not change their name after this second move, despite the general scarcity of natural lakes in southern California. Minneapolis, meanwhile, would remain without an NBA franchise until the debut of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989.

Another big change to the team was the addition of point guard Jerry West; a third was the hiring of West's college coach Fred Schaus to helm the team; and a fourth was the late-season addition of Francis Dayle "Chick" Hearn as the Lakers' play-by-play announcer. Hearn would go on to hold that post for the next 41 years.

The new Los Angeles Lakers improved on the previous year's results before losing once more to the Hawks in the Western Conference Finals. The duo of Baylor and West proved to be lethal and they both finished among the NBA's top 10 scoring leaders for the next four years.

Baylor was called to active military duty in the 1961–1962 season following the Berlin crisis and was only available on weekends, but the Lakers were able to pull together and make the NBA Finals, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion to a now-dominant Boston Celtics team. Baylor, however, set a record for most points scored in a playoff game, which stood for 25 years until Michael Jordan topped it. The Celtics defeated the Lakers twice more in the finals over the next three years.

1965 saw another team upheaval when Short sold the team to Canadian-American entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke for $5 million. Also, rookie Gail Goodrich joined the team.

On November 20 of that year, the Lakers played the San Francisco Warriors in Las Vegas. The game was notable because Chick Hearn was not present to announce it. He had gone to Fayetteville, Arkansas to announce a college football game, and inclement weather had prevented his flight from being able to leave in time for him to make it to Las Vegas for the Lakers game. It was only the second game he had missed for the Lakers since starting with the team in 1961. It was also the last game he would miss for the next 36 years. Beginning on November 21, 1965, Hearn announced the next 3,338 consecutive Laker regular season and playoff games.

As for the team that season, the Lakers would find themselves in finals once again in 1966 — promptly losing to the Celtics once again.

The Lakers moved to Cooke's brand-new arena, The "Fabulous" Forum, in 1967 with new coach Bill van Breda Kolff. That year saw the team repeat its now-bitter pattern, losing to the Celtics in the 1968 NBA Finals.

It had become clear that the Lakers needed to counter Bill Russell, and thus Cooke obtained Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers, hoping to supplement the aging and ailing Baylor. The move seemed at first to have worked, as the 1968–69 Lakers proceeded to compile a better record than did the Celtics. The two clubs met once again in the NBA Finals, but for the first time the Lakers had the advantage and also for the first time were clearly considered the better team entering the series by most observers. However, they once again couldn't get past their rivals and the Celtics emerged from the series with their 11th NBA Championship in 13 seasons. However, that 1969 championship series is notable in that Jerry West was named the first-ever Finals MVP; this remains the only time that a member of the losing team has won the award.

1970 saw the Los Angeles Lakers return to the finals, and for the first time did not have to face the Celtics — this time it was the New York Knicks, a team which included future Lakers coach Phil Jackson. West made a memorable 60-foot shot as the 4th quarter buzzer sounded in Game 3, forcing that game into overtime and helping West earn the nickname Mr. Clutch. But the Knicks recovered from what might have seemed a crushing blow and took the game in overtime.

In Game 5, Knicks' center Willis Reed tore a muscle in his leg and it looked as if he would not play again in the series. However, the Knicks found a way to win Game 5 without him. After the Lakers took Game 6 to force a seventh and final game back in New York. With everyone speculating as to his status for the game, Reed created one of the most memorable moments in NBA history as he came out of Garden tunnel and onto the court to start Game 7. To the roar of the crowd, Reed scored the first two baskets and the Knicks were off and running. Reed left the game for good at halftime, but the inspired Knicks already had 24-point lead at that point, and went on to rout the Lakers—Los Angeles' seventh NBA Finals failure in the last nine years.

The next year would not be the Lakers' year either. Baylor played in only two games due to injuries, and the Milwaukee Bucks, led by Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), defeated Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals. That year, however, did see the Laker debut of their future coach Pat Riley.

No one could have foreseen the team's domination the next season, however. Bill Sharman had been installed as the new head coach, and on the afternoon of November 9, 1971, just nine games into the season, the legendary Elgin Baylor retired, finally accepting that his injuries would no longer allow him to play professional basketball. That very evening, the Lakers proceeded to win the first of what would turn out to be a 33-game winning streak, before losing to the Bucks on January 9, 1972. The streak shattered the previous NBA record of 20, which happened to have been set by the Bucks the year before. To this day, the Lakers' 33-game winning streak remains the longest winning streak in the history of any major American professional sport.

The Lakers amassed 69 regular season wins that year, which was also an NBA record, one which stood for nearly a quarter of a century (Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls won 72 in 1995–96). The team led the league in scoring, rebounds, and assists, and Sharman was named Coach of the Year. Not only that, but the Lakers at long last shook the monkey off their back, conquering the Knicks in the 1972 NBA Finals to claim their first NBA title since 1954 and first since their move to Los Angeles.

The Lakers would fall to the Knicks in the Finals in 1973, and Chamberlain, who had set a record for field-goal percentage that year, making 72.7% of his shots, announced his retirement. West followed suit a year after that and 1975 saw the Lakers end with their first losing season in eight years, and miss the playoffs for the first time in 17.

Alcindor, now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, wanted out of Milwaukee, and the Lakers obtained him in a trade. His first year in Los Angeles resulted in his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award, but the Lakers failed to make the playoffs yet again (meanwhile, Milwaukee went from last to first in their division despite finishing the season with a losing record). The Lakers finished atop the Pacific Division the next year, only to be swept in the Western Conference Finals by Bill Walton's eventual NBA champion Portland Trail Blazers.

December 9, 1977 saw one of the ugliest moments in professional sports history. Future Laker coach Rudy Tomjanovich, then of the Houston Rockets, ran onto the court in an attempt to break up a fight between the Lakers' Kermit Washington and the Rockets' Kevin Kunnert. Washington, in the corner of his eye, saw that there was an opposing player rushing toward him. Instinctively thinking that he was going to be attacked, Washington turned and landed a devastating blow to Tomjanovich's face, with the unsuspecting Tomjanovich running headlong directly into the punch.

Tomjanovich was hit so hard that he has said that his first thought upon waking up was that the arena's scoreboard must have fallen from the ceiling onto him. The punch had cracked Tomjanovich's skull and nearly ended his career. He sat out the rest of the season, needing reconstructive surgery to repair his jaw, eye, and cheek. Some of those who witnessed the event said that the blow was so crushing that until they saw Tomjanovich moving as he lay on the floor, they feared that he might literally have been killed.

Washington received a punishment of 60-game suspension and a fine, and the incident remains a dark chapter in Laker history. The shocking scene became the defining moment of not only the Rockets' 1977-78 season (a conference finals team the previous year, they collapsed into last place with a 28-54 record), but also of two players' professional careers. Tomjanovich spent the next five months in rehab, eventually returning to play as an NBA all-star.

Before the 1979-80 season, Cooke sold the team to Dr. Jerry Buss, a Santa Monica real estate developer. That year also found the Lakers holding the top overall draft pick in the Western Conference, compensation for Goodrich's departure via free agency three years earlier to the New Orleans Jazz. At the time, the overall top pick in the draft was decided by a coin toss between the two teams with the top picks in each respective conference. The Eastern Conference team was the Chicago Bulls. The Lakers won the coin toss and selected Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who had just led Michigan State University to the NCAA championship.

Just 14 games into the season, the Lakers' rookie head coach, Jack McKinney suffered a serious head injury in a bicycle accident. Assistant coach Paul Westhead stepped in as the team's new head coach. Officially, Westhead began his head coaching term serving as the "interim" head coach. But the severity of McKinney's injury meant a long convalescence, and that combined with Westhead's subsequent success in the job ultimately meant that McKinney would not return to the Lakers. Westhead's promotion to the head coaching position also meant there was an assistant's post open, for which the Lakers hired then-TV commentator Pat Riley to fill in.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had a fantastic year (earning his sixth and final MVP award), and the Lakers defeated Julius Erving's 76ers to win the NBA championship, behind an incredible Game 6 performance by the rookie Magic Johnson, who scored 42 points, pulled 15 rebounds, and dished 7 assists, while starting at center for an injured Abdul-Jabbar. That alone won Johnson the first of his three Finals MVP awards.

The accomplishment would soon be followed by ugliness for the team, however. In a season that was marred by Johnson missing a large portion of time due to injury and a general state of unrest and dissension in the locker room, the Lakers stunningly fell in the first round of the 1981 NBA Playoffs to the Houston Rockets, who went on to the NBA Finals despite a 40-42 regular season record. The next season also began in rocky fashion, as Coach Westhead attempted to restructure the offense in a way that Magic Johnson opposed. Johnson was so upset that he demanded to be traded. Buss, however, sided with star player over head coach, and he fired Westhead just 11 games into the season. The fan reaction to Johnson for having triggered his head coach's firing was immediate and Johnson found himself roundly booed, even by the Lakers' home crowd in Los Angeles.

Nonetheless, under the tutelage of new head coach Pat Riley, the Lakers returned to the finals that year and secured their second championship in three years, once again toppling the 76ers in six games. Furthermore, they found themselves again with the top overall draft pick, thanks to a trade two years earlier with the last-place Cleveland Cavaliers. This marked the first time that a reigning NBA champion also had the first pick in the draft. The Lakers used that pick to select James Worthy. Worthy had a strong rookie campaign, but he broke his leg at the end of the season and could only watch helplessly as the Lakers, also hobbled by injuires in the post-season to Bob McAdoo and Norm Nixon, were swept by the powerful 76ers, led by regular season and Finals MVP Moses Malone, in the 1983 NBA Finals.

Byron Scott joined the team the next year, in a trade for the popular Norm Nixon, and the Lakers got off to a roaring start. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set the NBA all-time scoring record against Utah on April 5, 1984, topping Wilt Chamberlain's 31,419. The Lakers returned to the finals to face Larry Bird's Boston Celtics. Just as it had been in the 1960s, Boston came out on top, with the Celtics claiming a 111-102 victory in Game 7 at Boston Garden.

By the 1984-85 season, the Lakers' so-called "Showtime" era was in full swing. The team won the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year, this time by an NBA-record 20 games. They also set team records for field-goal percentage (.545) and assists (2,575). For the ninth time, they faced the Celtics in the finals. The championship series got off to a horrid start for the Lakers, losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals by a lopsided score of 148–114, in what is now remembered as the "Memorial Day Massacre". But the Lakers were resilient and behind 37-year old Finals MVP Abdul-Jabbar, they were finally able to topple Boston in six games. The team gained an extra measure of satisfaction from winning the title in the Boston Garden, the site of so many past agonies for the Laker franchise, thus making the 1985 Lakers the only visiting team to ever win an NBA championship on the famed parquet floor.

The Lakers were expected to meet Boston in the finals again the next year, and started the 1985–86 season on a tear, going 24–3. They finished with 62 wins and topped the record they set the year before by winning their fifth-straight division title by 22 games. However, the Houston Rockets had their own plans for the playoffs. Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson proved to be too much for Abdul-Jabbar (in his NBA-record 17th season) to handle, and the Lakers fell in five games in the Western Conference Finals. The Rockets won the series when Sampson hit a 20-foot jumper as time expired in Game 5 at The Forum.

Abdul-Jabbar turned 39 the next season, but Pat Riley had changed the focus of the offense to fall on Magic Johnson's shoulders. The strategy worked, and the Lakers accumulated 65 wins, the second-most in franchise history up to that point. Johnson also won his first MVP award. It should be noted that although the Showtime Lakers were famous for their scoring, they were also a great defensive team. Michael Cooper won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1987. Johnson then notched his last Finals MVP award as the Lakers defeated their archrival Celtics in the finals, higlighted by Johnson's running "baby hook" shot to win Game 4 at Boston Garden with two seconds remaining. This time, the decisive game was at home, giving the Los Angeles fans their first-ever chance to witness in person their team conquer the hated Celtics.

At the victory celebration afterward, Riley boldly guaranteed that the Lakers would repeat as champions the next year, something no team had done since the Celtics in 1969.

With every team in the league now gunning for them, the Lakers still found a way to win, taking their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title, and subsequently meeting Isiah Thomas and the physical Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals. The series went seven games and the Lakers were only able to squeak out a victory because of an injury to Isiah Thomas as well as James Worthy's Game 7 triple double, which earned him a Finals MVP award and cemented his nickname of Big Game James. By the narrowest of margins, the Lakers had delivered on Riley's guarantee.

It didn't look to be the beginning of the end, as the 1988–89 Lakers won their division yet again and Magic Johnson collected his second MVP award. The team then swept their first three playoff series to set up a rematch with the Pistons in the Finals. But the "three-peat" was foiled, as Johnson and Byron Scott both were injured and the Pistons won the series in four games. Following the series, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar announced his retirement at the age of 41, after 20 spectacular years in the NBA.

The Lakers seemed to adapt well to Kareem's absence. New center Vlade Divac helped the team to a 63-win season in 1989-90 and their ninth consecutive division title, and Johnson took another MVP award. However, the Phoenix Suns had the Lakers' number that year in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, defeating the Lakers in a surprisingly easy five games. Pat Riley decided to leave and was replaced by Mike Dunleavy as head coach. Michael Cooper, another great from the Showtime years, also retired.

Johnson became the NBA's all-time assist leader, surpassing Oscar Robertson the next season, as Dunleavy's new philosophy incorporated a slow and deliberate style, instead of the fast breaking Showtime style of the Pat Riley era. After a slow start the Lakers finished with a 58-24 record, defeated the strong Portland Trail Blazers 4-2 for the conference championship and returned to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately for the Lakers, though, a new dynasty was just beginning elsewhere, as Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls under second-year coach Phil Jackson won the first of their six championships by ousting the Lakers four games to one.

On November 7, 1991, Magic Johnson shocked the world with his announcement that he had contracted HIV and would retire immediately. Despite his retirement, he was selected to the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, where he earned the MVP award.

The 1991-92 Lakers struggled with the news of Magic's retirement and serious injuries to key players. They did manage to win 43 games and qualify for the playoffs for a then-NBA-record 16th consecutive time, thanks in no small way to the offseason recruitment of guard Sedale Threatt. However, playing without the injured James Worthy and Sam Perkins, the Lakers were overmatched by a powerful Portland Trail Blazers team and lost the first round series three games to one. That series featured one of the Lakers' "home" games being played in Las Vegas due to the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Dunleavy decided to leave the Lakers prior to the 1992–93 season to take charge of the Milwaukee Bucks' organization. Long-time Laker assistant coach Randy Pfund was promoted to replace him. The 1992-93 Lakers fought off an early injury to guard Byron Scott and posted a respectable 33-29 record over the first 61 games. The Lakers then traded Sam Perkins to the Seattle SuperSonics for Benoit Benjamin and the rights to rookie Doug Christie. The trade upset an already fragile team as they closed the season with a poor 6-14 run, but did manage to qualify for the playoffs. The Lakers surprised the basketball world by winning the first two games of the series against the powerful Phoenix Suns on the road, including a 35 point performance by Sedale Threatt in Game 1. However the Lakers lost the final three games of the series, including an overtime thriller on the road in the fifth and final game, with Phoenix prevailed over the Lakers three games to two.

Vlade Divac and draft pick Nick Van Exel led the team in scoring the next year, but it was rough going. After losing veteran players Byron Scott and A.C. Green to free agency and with James Worthy in the twilight of his career, the team posted a miserable 33-49 record and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 17 seasons. The Lakers did make a late playoff push when Pfund was fired and Magic Johnson took over as head coach. Unfortunately for Laker fans, Johnson went on to lose the final ten games of the season, which is to date the worst losing streak in franchise history. Realizing that he was not cut out for coaching, Johnson stepped aside and the Lakers appointed Del Harris as their head coach going into the 1994-1995 season.

The Lakers were one of the most improved teams in 1994-95, posting a 48-34 record and returning to the playoffs. The vast improvement was due to several reasons, including the coaching of Harris, the improved play of second year guard Nick Van Exel, the maturing of veteran players Vlade Divac and Elden Campbell, and the offseason signing of Cedric Ceballos and drafting of rookie Eddie Jones. Ceballos went on to record the first 50-point game by a Laker player in over 20 years. The Lakers won their first playoff series in the post-Magic era, beating the talented Seattle SuperSonics three games to one before losing to the Western Conference's number one seed San Antonio Spurs four games to two. Harris was named Coach of the Year and Jerry West won the NBA Executive of the Year Award.

The Lakers brought back essentially the same team in 1995-96 and had posted a 24-18 record after 42 games. On January 30, 1996 Magic Johnson returned to the Lakers as a reserve power forward and registered 19 points, 10 assists and 8 rebounds in his first game back against the Golden State Warriors. Johnson played well in the first few weeks of his return and sparked the Lakers to a 29-11 record while he was back in uniform. However, as the season progressed the wheels began to fall off as Johnson's age and time away from the game began to affect his performance. Team captain Cedric Ceballos was suspended by the team, Nick Van Exel was suspended for seven games for shoving a referee, and Johnson even lost his cool, getting ejected from a late-season game for bumping an official. The imploding Lakers lost in the first round of the playoffs to the defending champion Houston Rockets three games to one. Magic Johnson retired again following the season.

During the 1996 off-season, Jerry West pulled off one of the great signings in the history of the NBA when he landed free agent Shaquille O'Neal. Additionally, he traded Vlade Divac for 18-year-old draft pick Kobe Bryant. During the season, the Lakers also traded Cedric Ceballos to the Phoenix Suns for Robert Horry. Injury limited O'Neal to 51 games, however the Lakers went on to win 56 games and defeat the Portland Trail Blazers three games to one in the first round of the playoffs. But despite Horry's NBA-record 7-for-7 three-point shooting, the Lakers lost to Karl Malone and John Stockton, at the height of their careers with the Utah Jazz. The Jazz would ultimately lose to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1997 NBA Finals.

The next year, the Lakers were the only team without a player over the age of 30, and their youth and energy showed, helped by the addition of Rick Fox from the Boston Celtics. They finished with a 61-21 record, losing the division championship only on a tiebreaker to Gary Payton and the Seattle SuperSonics. O'Neal was dominant, finishing only second to Michael Jordan in scoring, and leading the league in field-goal percentage (.584). In the 1998 Western Conference Quarter-Finals, the Lakers once again met the Portland Trail Blazers and defeated them three games to one. In the semi-finals, the Lakers had a meeting with the Seattle SuperSonics, which the Lakers were ready for. They managed to avenge their divisional tiebreaker with the SuperSonics by defeating them four games to one. But once the Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals, they were once more flattened by Utah, who would again lose to Chicago in the Finals.

The 1998–1999 season was shortened due to a lockout, but the shorter season didn't mean there would be any less drama for the Lakers. Nick Van Exel was traded to the Denver Nuggets, Del Harris was replaced by Kurt Rambis, prolific scorer Glen Rice was picked up in a trade for Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell, and the flamboyant Dennis Rodman joined the team, though he was cut after just 23 games. The Lakers played poorly at times and finished the 50 game long season with a 31-19 record. They defeated the Houston Rockets 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs, but were swept in the second round by the eventual champion San Antonio, closing the series by losing the last two NBA games ever played at the Great Western Forum (as The Forum was known at that time).

The 1999–2000 season brought upon four huge changes: a new home floor at Staples Center (which they share with the city rival Los Angeles Clippers), newer, more modern jerseys replacing the ones worn by the Lakers since the late 70's, a new coach in Phil Jackson, and a new system: the triangle offense. The new philosophy proved to be potent, as the Lakers started off strong, winning 31 of their first 36 games. They also were able to string together winning streaks of 16, 19, and 11 games, becoming only the third team in NBA history to have three double-digit streaks in one season.

Despite topping the league with a 67–15 record in the regular season, the Lakers found themselves struggling in the playoffs, needing all five games to knock off the Sacramento Kings and coming back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against Portland. The Indiana Pacers, coached by the Lakers' old nemesis, Larry Bird, proved to be slightly less of a problem, however, and in six games, the Lakers claimed their first NBA championship since 1988. Shaquille O'Neal picked up both MVP and Finals MVP awards in 2000. Having also shared the 2000 All-Star Game MVP award, he was only the third player in NBA history to win all three awards in the same season. Kobe Bryant was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team, the youngest player to earn the honor. Bryant had blossomed under Coach Jackson, as had Lakers role players such as Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Robert Horry.

The Lakers certainly looked the favorite repeat the following year, but they had a tougher time of it, accumulating 16 losses by the All-Star break, one more than they had had the entire season before. Nevertheless, they pulled together and were able to edge Sacramento for the division title. Then the team went on a tear, sweeping the first three playoff series. The Lakers-Spurs series in the conference finals was the most lopsided conference finals series in NBA History, with the Lakers winning by an average of 22 points per game. The Lakers lost the first game of the NBA Finals to Philadelphia, but that only proved to be a temporary blip, as they swept the next four games to claim their second consecutive championship. O'Neal collected his second Finals MVP and Derek Fisher set a playoff record with 15 three-pointers in the series against San Antonio. The Lakers concluded the 2001 playoffs with a staggering 15-1 record, the best single season playoff record in NBA history.

Would a third consecutive championship be possible? The Lakers certainly thought so, and they started strongly in the 2001-2002 season, winning 16 of their first 17. But an arthiritic toe hobbled O'Neal for much of the season and the Lakers lost the division crown to the Sacramento Kings. Thus began a memorable post-season for Robert Horry, who sealed the first series against Portland with a buzzer-beater three-pointer enabling the Lakers to sweep. The Lakers followed with a 4-1 defeat of San Antonio in the second round.

In the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers faced the immensely talented Sacramento, a team many believed was ready to finally make it over the hump and get to the NBA Finals. The series, which will most likely go down as one of the most exciting Conference Finals in NBA history, was neck and neck throughout. The Kings were only seconds away from taking a commanding 3-1 series lead in Game 4 in Los Angeles before a miracle 3-pointer at the buzzer by Robert Horry saved the Lakers, tied the series at 2-2, and enabled the Lakers to push the series to a seventh and deciding game in Sacramento. Game 7 proved to be as dramatic as the previous games in the series, with the Lakers eventually defeating the Kings in overtime and advancing to the NBA Finals.

The championship series against the New Jersey Nets was a mere formality, as the Lakers swept all four games in one of the most lopsided NBA Finals ever. By securing their third straight NBA Championship, the Lakers of 2000-2002 earned their place in NBA history. O'Neal won his third consecutive Finals MVP award joining only Michael Jordan as players to have achieved such honors, and Jackson won his ninth championship as a head coach, tying Celtics legend Red Auerbach, while surpassing Pat Riley as the coach with the most playoff victories.

The Laker juggernaut seemed unstoppable, and a fourth consecutive championship was in their sights. However, they started off poorly, with Shaquille O'Neal missing the first 12 games while recovering from toe surgery, and then taking time to get into game shape. At Christmas, the team was 11–19, but then Kobe Bryant turned in the best sustained performance of his career, setting NBA records for youngest player to reach 10,000 points, most three-pointers in a game (12), most three-pointers in a half (8), and most consecutive three-pointers in a game (9). Additionally, he set a team record for most points in a half (42), scored 40+ points in 9 consecutive games (joining Chamberlain and Jordan), scored 35+ points in 13 consecutive games (trailing only by Chamberlain), became the third player to average 40 points in a month, and became the first Laker to record a triple-double in consecutive games since Magic Johnson in 1991.

Rather than rejoicing in another last-second victory that would have given them a 3-2 series lead and a chance to finish the Spurs off back home in Los Angeles, the Lakers instead faced the dejection of having been so close, but now facing a 3-2 deficit and now being on the brink of elimination. The Spurs did not waste their chance to finish off the Lakers. They swarmed the Lakers in Game 6 and put an end to the Lakers' dreams of a fourth consecutive NBA championship.

Determined to reclaim the title in Dr. Buss' 25th year of ownership, the Lakers brought in free agents Karl Malone and Gary Payton, and started the 2003–2004 season with a bang, winning 20 of their first 25 games, during which time Malone became the oldest player to record a triple-double. But then Malone went down with a knee injury, and other ailments to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant soon followed, leaving Payton to lead the younger players in an offensive system with which he wasn't particularly familiar. Additionally the team faced the on-going distraction of Bryant's sexual assault case and the sniping between O'Neal and Bryant which had ensued after Bryant was charged.

Still, the team managed to keep things together long enough for everyone to recover, closing the season in style with 14 victories in 17 games, and a Pacific Division title thanks to Bryant's two buzzer-beating three-pointers against Portland: one to tie the game at the end of regulation, and the second to win it in double-overtime. Without Horry in the playoffs, it was up to Fisher to save the team with a game-winning buzzer-beater. Again the Lakers were down 0-2 to San Antonio (at this time, the defending champions) in the semifinals. Again they were able to tie the series two games a piece at home. Again they were down as Game 5 drew to a close. Fisher's miraculous basket, coming off of an inbounds play that began with just 0.4 seconds left in the game, will stand for years as one of the NBA's most amazing playoff moments. This time, the Lakers returned home for Game 6 indeed relishing the joy of their improbable win, and they took advantage of their chance to finish off the Spurs, taking the game to advance to the Western Conference Finals.

After storming through the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers were expected to run roughshod over their NBA Finals opponents, the Detroit Pistons. But it wound up being the other way around, with the Pistons winning the series easily in five games, playing a team-oriented game featuring a particularly stingy defense.

The following summer after the 2003-04 NBA Season, the Lakers imploded. Jackson was burned out, and the Lakers' management was unwilling to pay the kind of salary that he wanted to continue. The long-simmering tensions between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant finally came to a head. When Jackson was not retained as coach (a move many believed to have been orchestrated by Bryant), O'Neal demanded a trade and it was granted; he went to the Miami Heat in return for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant. Bryant tested the free-agent market, apparently coming very close to signing with the Los Angeles Clippers before deciding to stay with the Lakers. Jackson retired to his ranch in Montana and Rudy Tomjanovich came in as the new head coach.

Gary Payton was dealt to Boston and Karl Malone retired after undergoing knee surgery, but not before the possibility of his return was eliminated when he and Bryant had a falling-out. Despite all of the offseason movement, the Lakers did manage a 24-19 start at the beginning of the 2004-05 NBA season, but it was at this time Tomjanovich left the team for health concerns. The Lakers struggled without Tomjanovich, but were still able to manage a 32-29 record and were in position to make the playoffs. However, the Lakers were not able to overcome late season injuries to Bryant and Odom, and went on to lose 19 of their last 21 games, finishing with a record of 34-48.

Despite all of this, Bryant continued to set records, including becoming the youngest player to reach 14,000 points, and setting a franchise record with 43 consecutive made free throws. The team also made 100% of their free throws three times, the first time since 1991–92. But all of that amounted to little, as the Lakers ended the season below .500 and missed the playoffs.

The 2005-06 NBA season would see the Lakers reunite with Phil Jackson. Jackson's year off, including vacationing in Australia, left him rejuvenated, whereas the Lakers' struggle in 2004–2005 caused Jerry Buss to reconsider his willingness to meet Jackson's salary demands. Although many have felt Kobe Bryant desired Jackson's departure in the first place, and though Jackson was subsequently critical of Bryant publicly, Bryant indicated that he welcomed Jackson's return, and the move left fans very optimistic about the Lakers season. Indeed, no public disagreements between the two surfaced throughout their first season reunited, and the player-coach relationship appeared to remain solid.

In the off-season, the Lakers' most significant player personnel moves had been acquiring Kwame Brown from Washington in exchange for Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins, and drafting center Andrew Bynum straight from high school.

After last seasons's poor showing, most felt that simply making the playoffs would be an accomplishment. The new Laker team is, in many observer's eyes, somewhat modeled after the Jackson's 1990's Chicago Bulls dynasty which had garnered 6 championships. Lamar Odom, a gifted facilitator forward, is also seen by some to be a "Scottie Pippen" type of player to complement Kobe Bryant's talents.

After a shaky start, the team's chemistry appeared to improve dramatically during the latter half of the season. The Lakers managed to put forth more consistent efforts as the regular season drew to a close. The team's late season surge was enough to secure a playoff berth and allay some of their fans' immediate concerns about the team. They played the second seeded Phoenix Suns, and after Bryant hit two clutch shots to win Game 4 at Los Angeles, they appeared to be en route to an upset with a 3-1 series lead, which would set up a "Hallway Series" in the second round against the Los Angeles Clippers, who had already advanced by ousting the Denver Nuggets. However, Phoenix, led by 2006 MVP Steve Nash, was able to rally, winning at Los Angeles 126-118 in overtime of Game 6, and routing the Lakers 121-90 in Game 7 at Phoenix.

The Lakers trailed 60-45 at halftime of Game 7. Bryant had 23 points at halftime but would score only one point on three shots in the second half. A number of critics, such as Bill Simmons suggested that Bryant, with his team trailing by so much, should have attempted more shots in the second half; some, such as Charles Barkley even suggested that Bryant refused to shoot to "prove a point" about the inferior scoring ability of his teammates. Bryant and coach Phil Jackson denied this, with both stating that Kobe was following the halftime gameplan by getting others involved.

During the 2006 off-season, the Lakers drafted UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar. To the surprise of many fans, the Lakers started the season strongly with key victories over teams like the Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs. However, things started going downhill after a slew of injuries to Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown, and Luke Walton. Kobe Bryant was suspended twice for striking opponents, and some started to question if he was a "dirty player." Outraged at these criticisisms, Bryant went on a record setting 4 game streak of scoring over 50 points. The Lakers managed to grab the seventh seed, but lost to the Phoenix Suns 4-1 in the first round.

Following the 2006-07 NBA Season the future of Kobe Bryant's career as a Laker fell into doubt, when he demanded to be traded. For a week he tiraded and the situation escalated when a videotape about him was released. The video recorded him saying that the Lakers should have traded Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd. Bryant insulted Bynum and was critical of General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Roster management decided to resign Derek Fisher, a past hero, but the Lakers would enter the season frustrated and with question marks.

The Lakers started the 2007–08 NBA season surprisingly well. Fueled by the emergence of Andrew Bynum's as a main option at center, the Lakers would even enjoy being the number one team in the Western Conference for three days. Capped by an early season trade for Trevor Ariza, rumors of Bryant wanting to leave Los Angeles were finally beginning to die. However, before the Lakers could savor their new success, Bynum would go down with a knee injury that would take him out for the remainder of the season. Suddenly, the contending Lakers would lose three straight games. The remainder of the season looked bleak for the Lakers, who were struggling to win games. It seemed that injuries, once again, would cripple another Laker season.

Fortunately, Andrew Bynum's injury was a blessing in disguise. On February 1, the Lakers dealt the unpopular Kwame Brown (who was booed viciously by the fans for his many turnovers in recent games), rookie Javaris Crittenton, veteran Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and first round picks in 2008 and 2010 for Spaniard all-star forward Pau Gasol and a second round draft choice in 2010.

With Kobe Bryant leading the charge with his MVP-caliber season, the month of April was very triumphant for the Lakers, who quickly surged to the top of Western Conference. Aided by Pau Gasol's versatile abilities and Lamar Odom's stellar play as a third option, the Lakers clinched their playoff berth for the 55th time in their 60 years with the league, won the Pacific Division from the Phoenix Suns (their first since Shaq left in 2004), and clinched the number one seed in the Western Conference for the first time since the 1999-00 NBA season. Byrant was also named the 2007-2008 NBA Most Valuable Player. Entering the post-season, the Lakers would go on to sweep the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Most importantly, after Game 1, Kobe Bryant publicly announced his desire to remain as a Laker. The Lakers would post a 12-3 record entering the finals. However, problems suddenly arose when the Lakers faced the Boston Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals. Despite being the favorites to win the series, the Celtics convincingly beat the Lakers 4-2 in the best of 7 series.

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Los Angeles Lakers all-time roster

The Los Angeles Lakers are a professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California that competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA), which was formerly called the Basketball Association of America (BAA). Since 1999, the Lakers have played their home games at Staples Center. The Lakers' franchise was founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan before moving to Minneapolis, where the team got its official title from the state's nickname, Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Lakers won five championships before relocating to Los Angeles in the 1960–61 NBA season. The Lakers went on to lose all of their eight appearances in the NBA Finals in the 1960s, despite having help from Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. In 1972, the Lakers compiled a 33-game winning streak, the longest streak in U.S. professional team sports, and won their sixth title under coach Bill Sharman. The Lakers' popularity soared in the 1980s when they won five additional championships during a nine-year span with the help of Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and coach Pat Riley, the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. Two of those championships during that span were against their arch-rivals, the Boston Celtics. With the help of Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers played in five of the nine NBA Finals in the 21st century, winning three of them consecutively from 2000 to 2002, and losing the last two in 2004 and, most recently, the 2008 NBA Finals without O'Neal.

There have been 334 past and current players who has appeared in at least one game for the Lakers franchise.

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2007–08 Los Angeles Lakers season

Dunk by Gasol in Game 2 of the NBA Finals

The 2007-08 Los Angeles Lakers season was the 62nd season of the franchise, 60th in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and 48th in Los Angeles. The team celebrated their 60th anniversary, thus the Laker jerseys bore the 60th anniversary patches on the leftmost part. They finished the regular season with 57 wins, finishing with the most wins in the tightest conference race in NBA history. The Lakers clinched the top seed in the playoffs for the 29th time in franchise history. This 15 game turnaround from last season as been attributed to the progress of the teams bench players and the mid-season trade for Pau Gasol. The Lakers sold out all 41 home games for the season. After 12 seasons in the NBA, Kobe Bryant was named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player for the first time in his career. The Lakers post season ended losing the NBA Finals to the Boston Celtics in 6 games.

Following the 2006-07 NBA Season, their offseason was marred with surgeries to their two key players. The first of which was Lamar Odom having shoulder surgery which made him miss the first five games of the 2007–08 NBA season. Another was Kwame Brown having shoulder surgery also.

The Laker's first signing was their first round draft pick Javaris Crittenton. Then the Lakers resigned Luke Walton to a six year contract extension worth $30 million. Chris Mihm also signed a new contract for 2 years despite missing the entire previous season after having surgery on his right ankle. Walton was a key player last season while Mihm was sidelined for the whole season.

The most notable signing of the Lakers offseason was the signing of past hero, Derek Fisher, to a three year deal worth approximately $14 million. Fisher was released from the Utah Jazz at his request during the offseason so his family can move to a city that has better treatment for his daughter, who was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. The Lakers signed him in order to add stability at the point and they needed a player who was well versed in the triangle offense. The Lakers were also hoping that signing a former veteran of the Lakers would ease Bryant's demand to be traded.

Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar had their 4th year and 3rd year contracts extended respectively. This kept each player with the team for at least one more year.

DJ Mbenga and rookie Coby Karl were also signed with the team to fill roster spots. Coby Karl, the son of Nuggets coach George Karl switched between the NBDL and Lakers roster throughout the season. During midseason injuries plagued the team and Ira Newble was signed to a 10 day contract. After this he signed a contract for the rest of the season.

The most notable departure was last year's starting point guard Smush Parker to the Miami Heat. Aaron McKie left the Lakers and became a voluntary coach for the 76ers. After spending one year with the Lakers Shammond Williams left via free agency to play for Pamesa Valencia of the ACB.

Early in the season the Lakers traded Maurice Evans and under achieving power forward Brian Cook for forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza would average 6.5 points per game averaging only 18 mintues per game. Ariza broke his foot in practice on January 20 and missed the rest of the regular season. He returned to the Lakers on May 23rd.

After Andrew Bynum was injured for the rest of the season, the Lakers needed help in the front court before they risked falling out of contention in the playoff race. In February, the Lakers traded Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Marc Gasol, Aaron McKie (who was resigned specifically for the trade), the draft rights to Marc Gasol, two 1st round draft picks in 2008 and 2010 and cash for Pau Gasol and a second round draft pick in 2010. Many consider the Lakers the major benefactor of the trade. The trade became an immediate success for the Lakers who went 22–5 with Gasol in the lineup.

Los Angeles had three selections for the 2007 NBA Draft. With their first round pick, the Lakers selected Georgia Tech freshman point guard Javaris Crittenton. With their second pick coming from the Bobcats, the Lakers selected the 6 foot 9 inch Chinese player Sun Yue. And with their final pick the Lakers selected Pau Gasol's younger brother, Marc. Marc Gasol and Crittenton were both traded midseason for Pau Gasol. Sun Yue spent the entire 2007-08 season playing in the ABA and China national basketball team and didn't play a game in the NBA.

Following the 2006-07 NBA Season the future of Kobe Bryant's career as a Laker fell into doubt, when he demanded to be traded. For a week he tiraded and the situation escalated when a videotape about him was released. The video recorded him saying that the Lakers should have traded Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd. Bryant insulted Bynum and was critical of General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Roster management decided to resign Derek Fisher, a past hero, but the Lakers would enter the season frustrated and with question marks.

The Lakers started the 2007–08 NBA season surprisingly well. Fueled by the emergence of Andrew Bynum's as a main option at center, the Lakers would even enjoy being the number one team in the Western Conference for three days. Capped by an early season trade for Trevor Ariza, rumors of Bryant wanting to leave Los Angeles were finally beginning to die. However, before the Lakers could savor their new success, Bynum would go down with a knee injury that would take him out for the remainder of the season. Suddenly, the contending Lakers would lose three straight games. The remainder of the season looked bleak for the Lakers, who were struggling to win games. It seemed that injuries, once again, would cripple another Laker season.

On February 1, the Lakers dealt the unpopular Kwame Brown (who was booed viciously by the fans for his many turnovers in recent games), rookie Javaris Crittenton, veteran Aaron McKie, the draft rights to Marc Gasol, and first round picks in 2008 and 2010 for Spaniard all-star forward Pau Gasol and a second round draft choice in 2010. With the Lakers now having a center and power forward who are both 7 feet tall, analysts have referred to Gasol and Bynum as "the twin towers," similar to the duo of Tim Duncan and David Robinson in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Even while waiting for Bynum's return, the Lakers were playing very well and got a second taste of being best in the Western Conference.

In Pau Gasol's playoff debut with the Lakers, he scored 36 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 blocked shots as the Lakers beat the Nuggets in Game 1. After Game 1, Kobe Bryant publicly announced his desire to remain as a Laker. Kobe Bryant gave the fans a vintage performance in Game 2 by scoring 49 points and adding 10 assists in a blowout at Staples Center. Game 2 against the Nuggets would mark a playoff first in which Lakers rookie guard Coby Karl became the first player to go against his coaching father, George Karl, in an NBA playoff game. The Nuggets were routed at home in Game 3, with Carmelo Anthony stating the team quit in the second half. Game 4 was closer, but Bryant led the Lakers with 14 points in the last five and a half minutes to close out the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Lakers were the only team in 2008 to sweep an opponent in the playoffs.

The Lakers faced the Utah Jazz in the second round of the playoffs which began on May 4th at Staples Center. It was the first time the two franchises had competed in a post-season series since the 1998 Western Conference Finals. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, and Utah Head Coach Jerry Sloan and Assistant Coach Phil Johnson were the only individuals present from the 1998 series that were in this series. Conversely, it was also the first play-off series meeting between Coach Sloan, and Lakers' Head Coach Phil Jackson since the Chicago Bulls defeated the Jazz in the NBA Finals that same year. The Lakers took game 1 at Staples Center winning by 11 against the Jazz. During Game 2 against the Utah Jazz, Bryant was officially named the 2007-2008 NBA Most Valuable Player award, to which he promised the fans that the team would "play until June," that he was "very proud to represent organization, to represent city" and thanked his teammates for helping him win the MVP award for the first time in his 12-season career. He said, "the special thing about this award is that we have done it together. I can't stress it enough. This is not an individual award." After being presented the trophy Bryant led his team to their second victory with 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Having a 6–0 record in the playoffs the Lakers would travel to Utah to play the 3rd and 4th game of the series. However their streak would come to a sudden halt. The Jazz won both Games 3 and 4 to even up the series with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, who bounced back after having two terrible games at L.A., leading the team. Game 4 went to overtime which the Lakers lost for the first time this season. The series would head back to Los Angeles tied 2–2. The Lakers came back with authority as they took Game 5 with Bryant, Gasol, and Odom scoring 20 plus points each. The Jazz looked to force a Game 7 but the Lakers closed out the series in Game 6 in Utah to end the series 4–2. Their victory on the road against the Jazz marked not only an impressive road win against a team with the best home record in the league, but also the second victory a road team had notched against a home team in the entire 2007-2008 playoff Conference Semifinals, as home teams had won at an unprecedented 22–2 pace.

The Lakers would go on to fact the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Finals. The two teams combined to win 7 of the last 9 NBA Championships. The Lakers were able to overcome a 20-point deficit in game 1 and win behind Kobe Bryant's 27 points, with 25 being scored in the second half. Game 2 was a cruise for the Lakers as they made a 9–0 run before halftime and built the lead to 30. For the third straight series the Lakers started of 2–0. This also marked Ariza playing for the first time since breaking a bone in his right foot in January. The Spurs easily took game 3 in San Antonio with Manu Ginobili carrying the Spurs after two terrible games in L.A. The Lakers barely escaped Game 4 with a narrow win after Brent Barry missed a last second 3-pointer due to a "missed foul call" on Derek Fisher, even though Bryant, Gregg Popovich, and Phil Jackson all agreed that it was not a foul. The NBA head office, however, admitted the next day that a foul should have been called, which would have given one of the league's top free throw shooters a chance to tie the game. Heading home up 3–1 in the series, the Lakers trailed in the first quarter by 17 but were able to cut the lead to six by halftime. Again, Bryant stepped up by scoring 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter and the Lakers surged ahead to take a 100–92 victory behind their home crowd for a chance to win championship no. 15. They also improved to 4–0 against San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals.

The Lakers were able to reach the NBA Finals again as the no. 1 seed. The last time this happened to the team was during the 2000, where they beat the Indiana Pacers 4–2. The Lakers looked to renew their rivalry with the Boston Celtics as the two match up for the 11th time in the NBA Finals. The Celtics own an 8–2 record all-time against the Lakers in the NBA Finals, but were defeated by Los Angeles the last two times they met in 1985 and 1987. Entering the finals, the Celtics and the Lakers held the record for most Finals appearances (Celtics 19, Lakers 28) including the 2008 Finals, and most Championships (Celtics 16, Lakers 14). The Celtics would go on to win the Finals 4-2 for their 17th NBA Championship.

The Lakers have been involved in the following transactions during the 2007-08 season.

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Source : Wikipedia