Lakers Nation takes a look back at Kurt Rambis’ top five moments during his time wearing the purple and gold. Rambis hs spent the majority of his career in Los Angeles, spending time not only as a player but also and executive in the Lakers front office. During Rambis’ playing years, he was a fan favorite and was the defensive minded player during the “Showtime Era”, that was willing to do all of the dirty work for the Lakers. Over the years of being a part of the Lakers franchise, whether it being a player, coach, or in an executive role, Rambis has been a part of nine Laker championships.
5. Coming Back to the Lakers Coaching Staff Under Mike D’Antoni
After the departure of Phil Jackson, Rambis found himself working as a basketball analyst for ESPN. Last season Rambis was often critical of the Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni and the teams play on both ends of the floor. But just Monday morning, Rambis was officially introduced as part of D’Antoni’s coaching staff for this upcoming season. Rambis will bring a coaching mind that has a strong emphasis in defense which has obviously been the Achilles heel for the Lakers. What Laker fans are hopeful of is that Rambis can install the attitude that he played with on the court.
4. Kurt Rambis Leads Lakers to Western Conference Semi-Finals
In the 1999 “lockout season” in the NBA, the Lakers first began the season under the direction of head coach Del Harris. Harris was fired after just 12 games when he posted a record of 6-6. Rambis was asked to take over for Harris and he did so and exceeded all expectations as the interim coach. He led the Lakers to a 24-13 record to close the regular season finishing in second place in the Pacific Division. The Lakers made the playoffs that season as the fourth seed in the Western Conference. They advanced past the Houston Rockets in the first round before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the semi-finals. Nevertheless, it was a very successful season for Rambis and the Lakers given the circumstances, and Rambis was able to showcase his coaching.
3. While a Member of the Charlotte Hornets, Rambis Returned to the Forum to receive his 1988 NBA Championship Ring
Rambis was a part of what was called the “Showtime Lakers” during the 80’s that brought excitement to the Forum in L.A. Members of that team consisted of Laker greats like Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar to name a few. After their championship season in 1987-88, Rambis moved on to play for the Charlotte Hornets. When Rambis returned home for the first time to face his former team and receive his championship ring, it was described by legendary Lakers play-by-play announcer Chick Hearn as, “The Return of Superman”.
2. Kurt Rambis Dunks on 76ers Darryl Dawkins
In Game 6 of the 1982 NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers, Kurt Rambis delivered a dunk that shocked the basketball world. 76ers Hall of Fame center Darryl Dawkins a.k.a. Chocolate Thunder went up to contest Rambis dunk attempt which resulted in Rambis posterizing the center in what might be Rambis best dunk of his career. The Lakers closed out the series in Game 6 winning by a score of 114-104, Rambis finished the game with eight points and seven rebounds.
1. The Closeline
In the 1984 NBA Championship, the Lakers took on the rival Boston Celtics in what is always a high intensity series. In Game 4 of that series the Celtics unfortunately took the momentum of the series for good due to a cheap shot taken on Rambis by Kevin McHale. Rambis was on a fast break to the basket when he jumped to lay the ball in and then was “closelined” in mid-air that sparked a reaction that will forever live on in Laker fans memories. This reaction symbolized the way that Rambis played the game and the kind of heart he had.