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|The Los Angeles Lakers are a National Basketball Association team based in Los Angeles, California. They are notable for having (at the end of the 2004–05 season) the most wins (2,621), the highest winning percentage (61.9%), the most finals appearances (28), and the second most championships (14), behind the Boston Celtics who have 16. They also have the record for most consecutive wins in a season (33).||Los Angeles Lakers Players
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The Lakers began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League for $15,000 and relocated it to Minneapolis. As the Gems had by far the worst record in the NBL, the Lakers had the first pick in the 1947 dispersal draft, which they used to select George Mikan, later to become, arguably, the greatest center of his time. With Mikan, new coach John Kundla and an infusion of former University of Minnesota players, the Lakers won the NBL championship in that 1947-48 season and joined four other NBL teams in jumping to the Basketball Association of America, where they promptly won the 1948-49 BBA championship. The NBL and BBA merged to become the NBA in 1949.
The Minneapolis Lakers were one of the dominant teams of the fledgling NBA. With Hall of Famers George Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, Jim Pollard, Slater Martin, and Clyde Lovellette, they were the NBA's first "dynasty", winning five championships in six years (1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954).
After their move to Los Angeles in 1960, the team featured Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, and Wilt Chamberlain, but despite the wealth of talent, they were repeatedly foiled by the Boston Celtics, losing the championship to them six times in eight years. It wasn't until 1972 when they strung together a record 33-game win streak under Coach of the Year Bill Sharman that they were able to secure their first championship in Los Angeles.
However, even with the addition of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they weren't able to win another championship until the arrival of Earvin "Magic" Johnson in 1979, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to an MVP performance by the rookie Magic, who, starting for the injured Kareem, had 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists to clinch the series. Under coach Pat Riley, a former Laker player, the Lakers then went on to dominate the 1980s, appearing in the finals eight times in the decade and being crowned champions five times, including consecutive championships in 1987 and 1988, the first team to do so since Boston in 1969.
In a December 9, 1977 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets center Kevin Kunnert got into a fight with the Lakers' Kermit Washington. As Houston guard Rudy Tomjanovich ran over to the two, Washington turned and blindly swung his fist. The powerful blow landed squarely on the face of a running Tomjanovich, causing massive jaw, eye, and cheek injuries; Tomjanovich's skull was also fractured when his head hit the floor. That shocking scene became the defining moment of not only the Rockets' 1977-78 season (a conference finals team the previous year, collapsed into last place with a 28-54 record) but also of two basketball players' professional careers. Tomjanovich, displaying the "heart of a champion", spent the next five months in rehab returning to play as an NBA all-star.
Although they made another finals appearance in 1991, they spent most of the 1990s fielding teams that were not considered legitimate championship contenders. During the 1999-2000 season, however, they were able to make it back to the Finals when Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Phil Jackson proved to be the winning combination, taking three consecutive championships. After missing out in 2003, a retooled Lakers team featuring newcomers Karl Malone and Gary Payton roared into the 2004 finals heavily favored to win, only to lose to Detroit in five games.
The following summer, the team was ripped apart. Personality conflicts between Shaq and Kobe came to a head. Shaq demanded to be traded, and was sent to the Miami Heat. Malone retired, Payton was traded to the Boston Celtics, and Phil Jackson left, replaced by Rudy Tomjanovich, who left the team part way through his first season.
Kobe led the retooled young team but the results were anything but positive and the Lakers ended up missing the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, and the first time in Kobe's professional career. In the 2005-06 season, fans have reason to be optimistic, thanks to the return of Jackson, and are looking for the Lakers to make the playoffs and currently hold possession of the eighth seed in the Western Conference as of February 26, 2006.
The team is renowned for the fanbase of famous celebrities, such as musicians and movie stars who attend its games. However, its most avid fans are actor Jack Nicholson and the California-based popular funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers who attend every game. There's even a rumor that singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea attend even the preseason games as a measure of their dedication to the team. The song "Magic Johnson", a tribute to the Showtime Lakers, can be found on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' album Mother's Milk.
Lakers Players News
Lakers, Twins win at Sapa-Johnsrud (Daily Inter Lake) The Lakers 10-runned their Western AA rivals, Lethbridge. The Twins beat Calgary, which would have entered today’s Championship Round unbeaten. The nine-team, five-day tournament wrapped up round-robin play Friday before conducting a home run derby and skills contest.
Lakers' Kobe Bryant has minor knee surgery (UPI) COLORADO SPRINGS, July 15 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers all-star guard Kobe Bryant underwent arthroscopy to remove scar tissue in his right knee, USA Basketball announced Saturday.
Lakers Go 3-2 At State (Shelbyville Daily Union) The Lady Lakers 12U, in just their second year, went 3-2 and finished in the Top Ten at the “A” State ASA tournament last weekend in Springfield.
NBA Clippers grab Thomas after losing Serbian star to Lakers (AFP via Yahoo! News) The Los Angeles Clippers confirmed they have signed forward Tim Thomas as a replacement for Serbian Vladimir Radmanovic, who signed earlier in the day with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bryant likely to miss worlds after knee surgery (Stuff) NEW YORK: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers had minor surgery on his right knee on Saturday and is unlikely to be available for the US team at next month's World Basketball Championship, USA Basketball confirmed on Saturday.
Bryant has surgery (Los Angeles Daily News) LONG BEACH - Kobe Bryant underwent surgery on his right knee Saturday that will keep the superstar guard from playing in this summer's FIBA World Championships in Japan but shouldn't affect his availability for the Lakers' season.
Bryant Opts to Fix Knee (Los Angeles Times) Lakers guard undergoes procedure that could force him to sit out part of training camp in October. He's out of world championships.
Lakers' Bynum far from filling big shoes (Los Angeles Daily News) I ventured out Wednesday afternoon to the Walter Pyramid to watch the future of the Los Angeles Lakers, and, oh, is it filled with heartache and disappointment.
Lakers name assistant women's basketball coach (Marie Evening News) Story created Jul 11, 2006 - 10:13:49 EDT. SAULT STE. MARIE - Lake Superior State has named two-time junior college and two-time WBCA/Kodak All-American Nicole Lindsey as its new assistant women's basketball coach.
Lakers' Bryant likely to miss world games (The Clarion-Ledger) COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — Kobe Bryant had minor surgery on his right knee Saturday and is highly unlikely to play for the United States in the world championships this summer.