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1 Jul 2017
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7 Key Players That Have Made the Los Angeles Lakers Champions

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Posted By Sophia M.

How did it all begin? The Lakers' name originates from the years they played in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "Lakers" refers to the huge cargo-hauling ships that traveled along the Great Lakes.

When thinking about or discussing the Los Angeles Lakers, one word comes to mind: "excellence." Since joining the NBA in 1960, the Lakers have been the epitome of success. Their accomplishments as a team include:

- 44 playoff appearances
- 24 division crowns
- 27 Conference Finals appearances
- 23 NBA Finals appearances
- 9 NBA Championships

How did it all begin? The Lakers' name originates from the years they played in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "Lakers" refers to the huge cargo-hauling ships that traveled along the Great Lakes.

Following 13 years in Minneapolis, the Lakers became the first West Coast NBA team, when they moved to Los Angeles. Ironically, no lakes exist in LA! Still, they kept the name. During their first season in the "City of Angels," the Lakers finished with a 36-43 record. They defeated the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, but lost in the Western Conference Finals, to the St. Louis Hawks. It was a heartbreaking defeat, as the Hawks beat them in Game 7, by a mere two points.

Throughout their long history, the Lakers have had several notable All-Stars on their team. The best-of-the-best include several players whose jersey numbers they have retired:

1. Elgin Baylor - #22 (Forward): 1960-1971

During his professional basketball career, Baylor averaged an amazing 27.4 points per game. In addition to shooting, Baylor was also adept at rebounding and passing. Unfortunately, the Lakers won a National Championship during the season that Baylor retired (1971-1972).

2. Wilt Chamberlain - #13 (Center): 1968-1973

Arguably, Chamberlain's greatest achievement was scoring 100 points against the New York Knicks, during 1962. That is a NBA single game record. He also became famous for his battles against Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics.

3. Gail Goodrich - #25 (Guard): 1965-1968, 1970-1976

Goodrich played on the 1971-1972 Lakers, which set an NBA record of 33 consecutive victories. In fact, Goodrich was the top scorer of that Lakers team.

4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - #33 (Center): 1975-1989

Jabbar became renowned for his "skyhook" shot. He also became the NBA's top career scorer, at 38,387 points. Jabbar won three NBA titles with the Lakers.

5. Earvin "Magic" Johnson - #32 (Guard): 1979-1991, 1995-1996

Magic Johnson fantastic passing skills epitomized the razzle-dazzle of Los Angeles. His rivalry with Larry Bird became legendary. Magic appeared in 12 All-Star games, and won five championships with the Lakers.

6. Jerry West - #44 (Forward): 1960-1974

West played particularly well in the playoffs. In the 1965 NBA Finals, he scored an average of 46.3 points each game. When he retired, West was the NBA's third top career scorer (25,192 pts).

7. James Worthy - #42 (Forward): 1982-1994

Ironically, Worthy disliked basketball as a child. However, he learned to love it and became an outstanding player as well. Worthy won three NBA championships with the Lakers, and became a member of the basketball Hall of Fame.

Though Los Angeles has no lakes, they have the Lakers. Use Los Angeles Lakers merchandise to cheer them on to their next NBA championship!

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