Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the NBA (National Basketball Association), playing in the Pacific division of the League’s Western Conference and sharing their home arena, the Staples Center, with their local rivals the LA Clippers as well as with the LA Sparks of the Women’s NBA and the LA Kings of the National Hockey League. They are currently tied with national rivals the Boston Celtics both having achieved the formidable number of 16 NBA Championships. They are also estimated as being the richest franchise in the NBA, with their 2015 projected value of $2.5 billion.
Like many franchises, the Lakers have moved around the country. They came into existence in 1947 with the purchase of a disbanded team, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL). The new team began playing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, calling themselves the Minneapolis Lakers in honor of the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes”. Initially a member of the NBL, the Lakers won the 1948 NBL championship before joining the rival Basketball Association of America and winning five of the next six BAA and NBA championships in Minneapolis after the NBA formed in 1949. The team was propelled by center George Mikan, who is described by the NBA's official website as the league's "first superstar". Once Mikan retired the club began to struggle financially and they relocated to Los Angeles before the 1960–61 season.
Eleven of their sixteen titles have been won since the move to Los Angeles, most recently in 2010. They won five championships in a nine year spell in the 1980s including their first ever victory over the Celtics, a “three-peat” between 2000 and 2002, and having missed out in both the 2004 and 2008 finals, the Lakers won two in a row in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers hold the record for NBA's longest winning streak, 33 straight games, set during the 1971–72 season.
Many great players have featured for the Lakers in over sixty years of basketball achievement – to mention just a few: Magic Johnson who was a 12-time all-star, three-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA Finals MVP is still unquestionably the best player in Laker history, responsible for bringing the Lakers back to prominence after several poor years. Current player Kobe Bryant is the first player in NBA history to make 30,000 career points and 6,000 assists. Among the many Lakers records he holds are for points scored in a season (2832), for points per game (35.4), for points scored in a game (81) and as leader in games played (1,103 and counting). Kareem Abdul-Jabar helped the Club to win five NBA championships, he himself won three M.V.P awards in a four year span and he was able to remain a dominant force regardless of the circumstances.
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