Los Angeles Lakers –
Drawing From the Past, Approaching the Future
One of the most legendary teams in the NBA, the LA Lakers have made a name for themselves and their key players throughout the years with ingenious players that have ended up becoming household names. From Magic Johnson to Kobe Bryant, this team has really moved the basketball player into the world of pure celebrity. Shaquille O'Neal, with his memorable quotes and interesting costume choices, has blurred the line between athlete and superstar, bringing the two together. This legacy lives on in the new crop of players for the team, and continues to bring fans to the seats.
The legend began back in 1946, when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen had the bright idea to purchase the Detroit Gems and rename them the Lakers, due to the proximity of the team to the Great Lakes. The team began on a strong note, winning a great many games throughout the 1940's and 1950's. Relocating to Los Angeles, the team became the first official NBA team on the West Coast, and remains the most famous, creating a tough act to compete against. In the 1980's, known as their “showtime,” the team, led by Magic Johnson, blew away the competition and generated more basketball fans than had ever been seen before, who rabidly followed all of the matches on television or in person if possible.
Though experiencing a slump in the post-showtime years in the 1990's, the Lakers showed that they always have the ability to bounce back during the early half of the 2000's, led by the extremely talented players Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. They went on to win 31 out of 36 games in 2000, and continued with this winning streak, becoming NBA champions in 2002 and retaining their position at the heights of the NBA. Hundreds of thousands of fans came out during this period to see them defeat all foes at the Staples Center in downtown LA.
Currently, the LA Lakers continue to retain their supremacy, winning first place in the Western Conference and the NBA finals of 2009. This same year Kobe Bryant was named the NBA's most valuable player as a result of this stunning win. Their combination of attitude, showmanship, and proven basketball talent makes this team one of the world's favorites. Any visitor to Los Angeles who is a sports fan should try to take in a game, as it will be sure to be memorable.
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