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Los Angeles Lakers: A Legacy of Success and Memorable Moments

COURTESY NBA.COM

The LA Lakers have a renowned and illustrious past within the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Lakers consistently achieved dominance in the league during the 1980s and secured many titles in the early, mid, and 2000s, resulting in a plethora of wonderful experiences for its supporters.

The pivotal events that stand out in the illustrious history of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball franchise are presented below.

The MVP, Magic Johnson

When: 1980

Kareem Abdul Jabbar, leading 3-2 over Philadelphia in a challenging Finals game, could not play in Game 6 due to an injured ankle. The Lakers were psychologically affected by the absence of their team leader and were likely preoccupied with the upcoming Game 7.

However, Magic Johnson was either exceptionally skilled or perhaps excessively innocent to experience fear. Assuming the position of center in Kareem’s absence, the youngster delivered an impressive display in a crucial performance, ranking among the most memorable of all time.

Johnson demonstrated versatility by playing nearly every position during the game and contributed significantly with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists, leading to a commanding 123-107 victory. By consecutively securing both NCAA and NBA championships, Magic astounded the global audience, giving rise to yet another dominant era for the Lakers.

A Win for the Ages

When: 1985

In addition to failing to defeat the Boston Celtics in their last eight meetings for the NBA championship, the Lakers had also failed to secure a victory on the legendary Boston Garden parquet floor.

In 1985, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and company would forever alter that with a Game 6 victory. This moment is regarded as the most significant in the franchise’s history, as it marked when the Lakers overcame their fears and defeated their archenemy.

History-Making Mid-Nineties

When: 1996

Laker General Manager Jerry West successfully executed not one but two remarkable achievements this summer.

During the draft day, he made a bold decision by exchanging his starting center, Vlade Divac, with the Charlotte Hornets to acquire a high school talent called Kobe Bryant. The relocation resulted in the Lakers being devoid of a center position.

However, West had yet to reveal his most significant action. He subsequently recruited the highly sought-after free agent Shaquille O’Neal, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The amalgamation would prove to be momentous and propel the Lakers to regain their position as the foremost team in the NBA. The Shaq/Kobe partnership resulted in three consecutive NBA championships and an abundance of scandalous off-court incidents, surpassing even the drama of a reality show on MTV.

Shaq & Kobe

When: 2000

Even the most skilled handicappers, boasting the greatest wagering win/loss records and perfect at dissecting NBA lines, wouldn’t have been able to predict what would’ve happened to the Lakers if they lost this game. Kobe had the potential to be traded. Alternatively, Shaq may have just slumped him.

Following the recruitment of Phil Jackson during that summer, the Lakers had an impressive record of 67 victories, during which Shaq secured his first scoring title and MVP award. Assuming their difficulties were resolved, everyone anticipated witnessing L.A.’s confident progress toward its first championship in several years. Subsequently, it occurred.

The team failed to maintain its 3-1 series advantage in the Western Conference Finals against a highly skilled Blazers team. Compounding the situation, during Game 7, the Blazers held a 15-point advantage going into the final quarter, leaving only the uncertainty of identifying the responsible party for this catastrophic failure. However, the Lakers staged a remarkable comeback in the playoffs, which stands as the largest in NBA history. They also executed a memorable play that solidified their triumph. The drama was ongoing, yet their winning streak continued.

Kobe for 81

When: 2006

Kobe Bryant displayed one of the most extraordinary individual performances in NBA history in 2006. Bryant amassed an astounding 81 points in a contest against the Toronto Raptors, which ranks as the second-highest single-game total in NBA history.

Bryant’s 81-point performance solidified his status as one of the all-time finest players in the annals of the Los Angeles Lakers and made it an occasion to remember.

Covid-19 NBA Championship

When: 2020

Wel

The Los Angeles Lakers prevailed despite the Covid-19 pandemic’s significant influence on the 2020 NBA season and won their seventeenth championship. Under the leadership of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the NBA champions overcame the incomparable obstacles of the NBA dome in Orlando, to secure the championship.

A memorial to the late Kobe Bryant, who had recently passed away, the championship was won in his honor. A victory during the Covid-bubble for the Lakers will rank among the most incredible moments in the annals of the franchise.

Over the years, the Los Angeles Lakers have furnished basketball enthusiasts with an innumerable collection of indelible moments. These moments span the Lakers’ 2020 championship victory in the bubble and Magic Johnson’s inaugural year, have solidified their status as indelible occurrences in NBA history.