This Day In Lakers History: Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West Bring First NBA Championship To Los Angeles
Wilt Chamberlain, Lakers
Dick Raphael-USA TODAY Sports

For years and years in the 1960s, the Los Angeles Lakers would come up just short in winning an NBA championship as the Boston Celtics would always somehow come out on top. When the Lakers added Wilt Chamberlain to a team led by Jerry West prior of the 1969 season, things were expected to change.

However, the Lakers would lose a crushing Game 7 at home to the Celtics in that year’s Finals. When it was the New York Knicks across from them in the Finals the following year, the infamous ‘Willis Reed Game’ occurred in Game 7, once again leaving them just short of that elusive title.

The 1972 season changed everything.

The Lakers would reel off 33 straight wins during the regular season, a record that still stands today, and win 69 games total, a record that stood until 1996 and has still only been surpassed by two teams in NBA history.

In the playoffs, the Lakers ran through the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks before coming face-to-face once again with the Knicks. This time, the Lakers made sure to finish the job.

On May 7, 1972, Chamberlain and West led the Lakers to a 114-100 win over the Knicks to bring the city of Los Angeles its first ever NBA championship.

Finals MVP Chamberlain led the way in the clinching game with 24 points and 29 rebounds. Over the course of the five-game series Chamberlain averaged 19.4 points and 23.2 rebounds.

West added 23 points and nine assists, while Gail Goodrich, the team’s leading scorer in both the regular season and the Finals, finished with 25 points to dispatch of the Knicks.

This was the culmination of a long journey for the Lakers as time after time they came up just short. In the end, the frustrating losses ultimately made it that much sweeter when they got over that hump to win their first championship in Los Angeles. And they did so in dominant fashion.

WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB

You May Also Like

A Complete Timeline of the Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant Feud

(Republished from April 2, 2013) With Shaquille O’Neal set to get his…

This Day In Lakers History: Magic Johnson Makes Head Coaching Debut

Following the unexpected retirement of Magic Johnson, the 1990s were a stop-gap towards the next generation of…

This Day In Lakers History (3/28/03): Michael Jordan Passes Torch To Kobe Bryant In Final Matchup

On March 28, 2003, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant scored 55 points in what was ultimately a passing of the torch…

This Day In Lakers History: Robert Horry Hits Buzzer-Beater Against Kings In Western Conference Finals

Sometimes, certain events take place that leave such a lasting impression that we remember details of exactly what…