Many basketball legends have had the honor of wearing the purple and gold throughout the history of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. With an abundance of Hall-of-Famers and recognizable faces, the Lakers global brand power remains at an all-time high. Stars such as Jerry West, Magic Johnson, and Kobe Bryant have appealed to the masses and connected generations to the sport of basketball.
On this day in Lakers history, Los Angeles didn’t have a game per se, but saw their premier talent take center stage at their home arena. Jan. 18 marked the 1972 NBA All-Star Game, which was coincidentally being held at The Forum.
The Lakers were well-represented on the Western Conference All-Stars roster, with West, Gail Goodrich and Wilt Chamberlain all making the cut. The contest progressively turned into a nail-biter, with the fans getting a first-hand experience at watching the NBA’s best players.
West and Goodrich both earned the start, while Chamberlain came off the bench to replace starting center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. When taking a look at West’s career, his style and grace earned him the “Mr. Clutch” nickname.
Whether during his playing days or when he made an impact in the front office, West was a unique basketball mind. The former No. 2 overall pick’s playmaking abilities and ball-handling took the league by storm, as a notarized example of how to play the point guard position.
At the same time, the Lakers guard was never afraid of the spotlight, scoring at will when he felt the need to. The contest between the All-Stars started off in favor of the East, as they jumped out to a 64-54 advantage at halftime.
Scoring outputs from Walt Frazier and John Havlicek gave their team the 10-point lead, one which proved to be temporary. The West came storming back in the third quarter, outscoring the East by 13 points and taking a three-point lead into the fourth.
From here it would set the stage for a certain clutch-shot maker to deliver the final blow. Lakers head coach Bill Sharman, coming off of a championship, was named the West head coach and got to see his franchise talent deliver once again.
With less than a minute to play, the fans at The Forum were on the edge of their seats, as they saw the East tie the game at 110. With just a few seconds left, the West had one final opportunity to capture the win, and that they did.
West took the ball and dribbled down the court, pulling up for a 20-foot jumper at the buzzer. Thus, the Western Conference All-Stars earned a 112-110 victory.
Living up to the moniker of “Mr. Clutch,” West was rightfully awarded All-Star Game MVP honors, in front of his home fans. He the game with a team-high 13 points, along with six rebounds and five assists. Sharman, Goodrich, and Chamberlain all saw “The Logo” capture his lone All-Star MVP honors, during a tremendous career.
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