History of the Los Angeles Lakers Mr. Barnes Period 3 CJ McMann
Wilt Chamberlain Comes to Town In the 1968-1969 season, owner Jack Cooke brought in Wilt Chamberlain from the Philadelphia 76ers, trading three players for the supercenter. The Lakers battled their way to the NBA Finals in Wilts first year with the team, but came up short in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics.
33 In a Row! In the 1971-1972 season the Lakers rallied a 33 game winning streak, going undefeated the entire month of November and December. The Lakers continued to win setting a new NBA record with a 69 win season behind Jerry West, averaging 25 points and nearly 10 assists per contest.
Bad 1973 Season In the 1973 season the Los Angeles Lakers lost two of their primary stars… Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. –Wilt Chamberlain retired at the age of 37 with a career average of 30.1 points per game and pulled down more than 23,000 rebounds in his career. –Jerry Wests legs gave out midway through the 73 season, causing him to retire as well. West averaged 27 points per game in his career and assisted more than 6000 times in his playing days.
LA Trades for Abdul-Jabbar During the offseason of the 1975-1976 season the Lakers made a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. Jabbar was the leagues premiere big man and was the perfect fit for LA to make a championship run.
Showtime Arrives The Lakers drafted Earvin Magic Johnson, the 69 point guard from Michigan State in the 1979-1980 NBA draft with the first overall pick. Johnson led the Lakers to a 60-22 record in his first season with the team. The Lakers also managed to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals in six games. In game six, Johnson moved from point guard to center, with Abdul- Jabbar being out with a sprained ankle. Johnson scored 42 points, had 15 rebounds, and seven assists single-handedly carrying the team to victory.
A Worthy Draft Pick The Lakers found themselves with an surprisingly amount of riches when, after winning the championship, they also ended up with the first overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft. The Lakers used the pick to select forward James Worthy, who led North Carolina to the 1982 NCAA Championship. Worthy, Johnson, and Abdul- Jabbar would define the powerhouse Lakers of the 1980s. Worthy proved to be the perfect fit to both players, finishing on the break for Johnson and stepping out to the perimeter when Abdul- Jabbar needed room to work the inside.
Abdul-Jabbar becomes All Time Leading Scorer In the 1983-1984 season Abdul-Jabbar stepped up when Magic Johnson went out with a dislocated right index finger. On April 5 th, Jabbar became the all time leading scorer in NBA history surpassing Wilt Chamberlain with his 31,420 point. The Lakers once again made it to the NBA Finals but only to lose in 7 games to the Boston Celtics, who had never lost a game 7.
Finally Beat Boston Los Angeles reached the NBA Finals after eliminating Phoenix, Portland, and the Denver Nuggets, chalking up an 11-2 record on the way. Facing Boston again in the championship round, the Lakers were humiliated in the first game, 148-114, a contest remembered as the "Memorial Day Massacre." Los Angeles bounced back to take four of the next five games, led by 38-year-old series MVP Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. The 1985 series marked the ninth time that Los Angeles and Boston had met in the NBA Finals but the first time that the Lakers had come away with the victory.
A Very Magic Year Magic Johnson, now the leader of the Laker offense led them to a 65-17 record winning MVP of the season as well. Once again the Lakers and Celtics matched up in the NBA Finals. Los Angeles routed Boston 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. Magic Johnson also won the NBA finals MVP. Head Coach Pat Riley declared that they would repeat and win the championship next season. His prophecy was fulfilled…
Calling it a Career In the 1989-1990 season Center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar decided it was time to retire. Jabbar was 41 years old and had played 20 seasons in the NBA. Also in the 1990-1991 season Head Coach Pat Riley stepped down after winning the Coach of the Year award the previous year.
Out of Magic? During the 1991- 1992 season Magic Johnson announced his retirement after testing positive for the HIV Virus. Johnson was still voted into the All-Star game and although it was a lousy performance, he still won the MVP award. Johnson wasnt finished however. Magic joined Larry Bird and Michael Jordan in the USA Dream Team at the 1992 summer olympics.
The Next Few Years… In the next few years the LA Lakers brought in new Head Coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers somehow managed to bring in 71 powerhouse center Shaquille ONeal from the Orlando Magic. ONeal brought championship magic once again to LA. Also the Lakers drafted Kobe Bryant, a sensational rookie. With Kobe and Shaq, the Lakers managed to win back-to-back titles and 3 total titles throughout their playing days together.