When it comes to iconic basketball teams, the Los Angeles Lakers have set the standard for what is achievable in sports. Whether it’s championships won, famous players, or pop culture fame the Lakers have just had it all over the many years since the team’s formation. Even to those that don’t follow basketball, they know the name, they know the gold and purple colors, they know legends like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers are as iconic in the US as the New York Yankees or the Dallas Cowboys.
Over their many years, the Lakers have had their ups and downs like any team. Recently the Lakers have had a resurgence not only in popularity but in their performance and many consider the best years for the Lakers still ahead. Let’s take a trip together and remember some of the best versions of the Lakers throughout history.
Kobe and Shaq: The 1999-2000 Season
This was a new era for the Lakers. Phil Jackson had taken over as coach and was ready to bring championships to the Lakers as he had with the Chicago Bulls. Also, after several years of improvement, Kobe Bryant had emerged and was ready to take his place as one of the greatest shooting guards of all time. The combination of Kobe with the towering Shaquille O’Neal became a monstrous force in the NBA.
This time period for the Lakers had some of the most recognizable names in modern basketball, even the eccentric Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman made an appearance on the team for 23 games.
The Lakers would go on to win 67 games in 2000, with a 15-1 record in the postseason. From 2000 to 2002 the Lakers would go on to win 3 championships in a row, an incredible feat. This will always be remembered as one of the greatest teams in basketball history.
During the 1980s the Lakers won a total of five championships and played in eight so it’s safe to say that the Lakers were the most dominant team of the 1980s. With that in mind, it’s incredibly hard to pick out a single year and say that’s when the Lakers were at their best. However, even in a decade of incredible performance, the 1986-1987 Lakers were one of the best versions we’ve ever seen.
During this season, the Lakers amassed an incredible home record of 37-4, one of the best regular seasons in franchise history. In total, the Lakers would go 62-20 through the season. The highlight of this incredible time was when the Lakers beat their rivals the Boston Celtics in the championship. With a star-studded team of now-legendary players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, and others, this version of the Lakers is certainly one of the most memorable to all Lakers fans.
Wilt and the Logo: 1970-1972
Finally, we have the team to end all teams. Arguably the best season for the Lakers ever, and the best NBA team in history, the early 1970s Lakers. Led by Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, they would go on to win 69 games in the 1972 season. Not only that, but they would also go on to win their first championship since moving to LA. The Lakers triumphed over the New York Knicks, winning four out of five games against them. Wilt Chamberlain was the NBA’s best rebounder that year, with Gail Goodrich and Jerry West among the top ten in the league for scoring. It was a perfect storm of a team that will be remembered for generations.
The Lakers have clearly been building up their roster every year, finally adding up to the all-star team they have leading into the 2020s. It would be wise to keep an eye on the NBA betting odds, as the Lakers could be the team to beat in the future. With LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others, the future is looking great for the Lakers down the road. One thing is certain, the story of the Lakers is far from over, and fans are certain the best years are still ahead for this seminal team.
When you look back, it’s astounding how much history one team could have. Few teams are as ubiquitous to a game as the Lakers are to basketball. Their footprint and DNA can be seen everywhere in the league. So many young athletes have grown up idolizing the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, and LeBron James.