The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most famous American basketball teams ever. Founded in the year 1947, the Los Angeles based team is one of the most successful basketball teams, with sixteen NBA championship wins. The lakers have grown into an iconic franchise carrying a hugely successful record and having legendary players like Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, etc., play for them. With millions of fans all around the world, the team has a loyal fanbase that loves them.
So, for people just getting introduced to this historic team, here are six fascinating facts about the Los Angeles Lakers that everyone should know!
- The Los Angeles Lakers were not known as the Los Angeles Lakers when they started. They started playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the “Minneapolis Lakers”. Since Minnesota is also known as “The Land of 10,000 lakes”, the word “lakers” made it into the team’s name.
- Many legendary players in the history of basketball have played for the lakers. When the NBA released a list of 50 best players in its history in 1997, eight of the Los Angeles Lakers players made it into the list. George Mikan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West all had spent a large part of their careers playing for the Los Angeles team.
- When Magic Johnson joined the team in the 80s, the Los Angeles Lakers entered an era called “Showtime”. With Kareem Abdul Jabaar as the centre, the Lakers won five championships during that era and led the NBA charts. The showtime era came to an end with the retirement of Magic Johnson in the year 1991. The team showcased a run and gun style with fast breaks, which earned them numerous fans that are loyal to this date.
- The Los Angeles Lakers set an NBA record that is still unbroken by winning thirty-three games consecutively. This streak happened during the 1971 – 1972 season. This season led by Wilt Chamberlain, Gail Goodrich and Jerry West also set the record for the best regular season in NBA and also won the league title for that season.
- Purple, gold and black are the team colours for the Los Angeles Lakers. But these iconic colours were not what the team started with initially. When they set out playing as Minneapolis Lakers, white and blue with gold trimmings were the colour of their uniforms. They also had the word ‘Lakers” written across them. Over the years, the jerseys underwent many changes both in the colours and texts written on them. And finally, in 1967, the now-iconic purple and gold combination became the colours of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Anybody who knows the Los Angeles Lakers will also surely know Chick Hearn. Not as a basketball player but as a sportscaster for the team. Popular basketball phrases like “slam dunk”, “air ball”, “triple-double” are all attributed to him. He also created various phrases and sayings during his announcing, now fondly known as “Chickisms”. His career spanned 42 years, during which he had broadcast a total of 3,338 consecutive games for the Los Angeles Lakers. He is as much a beloved part of the team as the players. And after his demise, a portion of West 11th street in Los Angeles was renamed “Chick Hearn Court” in recognition of his contributions to the Los Angeles Lakers.