Los Angeles Lakers
When you think iconic sports franchises, you think Los Angeles Lakers. They’re it. The peak of it all. The team is currently based out of Los Angeles, California, where home games are played at the infamous Staples Arena. The team’s official colors are gold, purple, and black. With the franchise nickname “Showtime”, given for their flashy, run and gun style of play in the 1980s, The Los Angeles Lakers have the second most NBA championships in history with 16, only one behind their rival, the Boston Celtics. With 4 Hall of Fame coaches, and 26 Hall of Fame players, the Los Angeles Lakers have created some of the most memorable dynasties in professional basketball.
Formerly known as the Minneapolis Lakers, the team relocated to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-1961 season. Jerry West’s Los Angeles Lakers then advanced to the NBA Finals six times in the 1960s, only to lose each meeting to the Boston Celtics. Later led by Wilt Chamberlain, the Lakers would eventually redeem themselves and win a title in 1971 before falling back into the darkness and missing the playoffs for the latter half of the 1970s. In the 1979 NBA Draft, the Lakers struck gold with the selection of Magic Johnson as the number one pick. He was teamed up with Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabar and James Worthy, and the franchise successfully changed forever. As the mid 1980s bred one of the best rivalries in league history against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, Pat Riley’s Lakers won five NBA championships in nine years. Following the 1980s, the retirement of Abdul-Jabar and Johnson would open up room for the start of it’s newly led Shaq-Kobe era in 1996. Behind the leadership of yet another hall of fame coach Phil Jackson, the duo would bring another 3 rings to the city through the 2000-2002 seasons.
Although Shaq was traded in 2004, Kobe Bryant would go on to win two more championships during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2016, Kobe Bryant played his last game in the NBA with a 60 point send off, marking the end of yet another era. The Los Angeles Lakers have recently missed the playoffs for a franchise record six straight NBA seasons, despite adding several high first round picks to their roster. With a number of young players on smaller contracts, The 2018 NBA Free Agency opened up room for the Lakers to land yet another icon in Lebron James. Though there was renewed optimism with LeBron in town, the 2018-2019 season was another disappointment, plagued with injuries and drama surrounding the abrupt departure of former team president Magic Johnson.
Things finally started to turn around in June, 2019 when the Los Angeles Lakers traded Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first-round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for NBA All Star Anthony Davis. Between James and Davis, Los Angeles has once again established themselves as a true power in the NBA.