One of the most successful franchises in basketball history is the third most expensive in the NBA, which provides the team with a transition of stars in case of a free payment in any of the offseasons. As of late 2021, the team is led by Frank Vogel and owned by franchise owner Jerry Bass.
Periods of decline
Because of their advantageous location and large market, the Los Angeles Lakers, formerly known as the Minneapolis Lakers, have not had many bad periods in history. The first came in the late ’60s, when the team lost George Miken and did not make up for the loss. Despite Vern Mickelsen’s best efforts, the Lakers never quite got past the 20-win mark of the 57/58 season. The disappointing result allowed Minneapolis to select Jerry West, whose silhouette appears on the NBA logo, in the next draft.
The second stagnation in the team’s history came with the end of Kobe Bryant’s career. “The Mamba didn’t produce their previous offensive numbers after an Achilles injury, and because of the salary cap expansion, the Lakers signed failed players for big bucks. Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov could not help Kobe, and the Lakers’ performance worsened from season to season without reaching the playoffs. The Lakers finished the 15/16 season with a 17-65 record, the franchise’s anti-record. Kobe Bryant ended his career after that season.
The heyday of the season
At the start of the franchise’s NBA appearances, the team won in five of its six starting seasons. Leading the team was George Meiken, who averaged over 20 points in five years. John Albert Kundla, later a member of the NBA Hall of Fame, led the team. Lakers domination in the NBA Championship was ended in ’54-55 when they lost to Fort Wayne Pistons in the Conference Finals.
In 1968 the Lakers replaced Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark and Jerry Chambers with Wilt Chamberlain, considered the best player in the league at the time. With Chamberlain, the Lakers were able to reach the conference finals six times and reach the NBA Finals four times, winning only one of them. The Lakers then also set the best win-loss record in their history at 69-13.
Chamberlain was succeeded as the team’s biggest star by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who paired with Magic Johnson to usher in the Showtime era in Los Angeles. In Magic’s first season, the Lakers won the championship, building on their success in the future. Only injuries to Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson hampered the Lakers, knocking the team off its championship schedule. By the 1988/1989 season the Lakers had won four more NBA championships, losing three times in the finals.
Los Angeles reached its next peak in the late 21st century, when the Lakers managed to draft Kobe Bryant. Bryant stood out for his work ethic and unwillingness to lose. He and Shaquille O’Neal, who joined the Lakers in 1996, created the team that sealed LA’s first trifecta since the franchise moved to the Angels’ capital. Under the leadership of Phil Jackson, the team fanned the opposition until Kobe and Shaq finally had a falling out. The result of the quarrel was Diesel’s departure to Miami for a package of role players.
And it was thanks to O’Neill’s swap that the Lakers were able to win two more championships. Kobe armed himself with the support of Matt World-Peace and Pau Gasol, Phil Jackson continued to manage the team, and the Lakers’ results took them to the playoffs year after year. That’s how the LAL became champions in the 0809 and 0910 seasons. Kobe became MVP of the Finals for the first time in his career, while Phil Jackson decided to end his career after his second championship.