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The Origins & History of Every NBA Team

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The Origins & History of Every NBA Team

With over seven decades of history, chances are there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the National Basketball Association and its 30 teams. Did you know that the Los Angeles Lakers once called Minnesota home? What about the fact that the Boston Celtics have had 24 players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame? How about that the Los Angeles Clippers are supposedly cursed?

We’re diving deep into the history of every single current NBA team. You’re going to learn about how the teams came to be who they are today, including how the franchise was created, relocations to new cities, unexpected name changes and evolutions of jerseys and logos.

You’ll find out where your favorite stars hit the court in their home cities, accolades each team brought home and teams that have a solid representation in the Hall of Fame.

So, what do you actually know about the NBA? Let’s find out!

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Los Angeles Lakers

Unless you live under a rock, it’s safe to assume that you have heard of the Lakers. What you might not know is how the Lakers franchise began and how it grew to become one of the most iconic basketball teams in NBA history.

We’ll detail things about the Lakers that even the most die-hard fans might not be aware of. We will walk you through the very beginnings of the LA Lakers to now, share information on the teams star players throughout history, spill the beans on celebrity Lakers fans and include other fun facts and Lakers trivia that are sure to have you leaving this article with a newfound respect for the team.

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In the Beginning…

First, it’s important to set a few key things straight. The LA Lakers have not always been a Los Angeles team. In fact, it all began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Detroit Gems franchise from the National Basketball League for a mere $15,000. From there, they brought on John Kundla as the first head coach, moved the team to Minneapolis and gave the team a shiny new name: the Lakers. The name stemmed from Minnesota’s nickname, which if you weren’t aware, is “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

The Lakers drafted George Mikan, who helped the team rise to the top in their first year. Mikan would become one of the greatest centers in basketball history. After they won the championship in 1948, they moved over to the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The Lakers also won the championship game in 1948.

Fun Fact

The NBA, which is the largest nationally recognized basketball league in the United States, does not recognize the Lakers’ win in 1948 as part of the NBL; however, their win in 1949 as part of the BAA is recognized by the NBA as an official championship. So, if you follow the NBA’s records, the Lakers are considered to be a 1949 expansion team, whereas the team actually had its beginnings two years prior.

After winning multiple championships, the Lakers took a turn for the worse and had a few years in the cellar. In 1958, their luck changed when they drafted future Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor and returned to championship form. They faced the Celtics and were swept in four games — which coincidentally started the Lakers-Celtics rivalry.

The following year, after seeing the success of other sports teams who had made the move to the West Coast, the Lakers moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. With the move, the Lakers also drafted Jerry West to be their point guard and Fred Schaus to coach.

Logos

The Lakers’ logo hasn’t changed much since the 1940s. The biggest upgrade to the logo happened when they moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.

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The original Lakers’ logo featured gold stars, a basketball, and the state of Minnesota. The colors were gold and blue, which have changed only slightly to the gold and purple we know the team by today.
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While the Lakers current logo (implemented in 2001) is definitely more modern than its predecessor, the basic theme is the same. The current logo features a basketball and the name “Los Angeles Lakers” with the words swooshing to give you a sense of the team's ability to shoot hoops and run circles around you on the court.

Staples Center

Location: Los Angeles, California

Сapacity: 23,000

Arena

While they were based in Minneapolis, the Lakers played in the Minneapolis Auditorium; however, upon the teams move to Los Angeles, they played at the Forum. The Forum, which is now a historic sight, resembled the Roman Colosseum in design and also hosted a portion of the 1984 Olympics. In 1999, the Lakers made their home at the Staples Center, where they still play today.

Famous Fans

With star power on the court and a team based out of the star-studded Los Angeles, it should come as no surprise that the Lakers have quite a few famous fans themselves. Celebrities such as Ice Cube, Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Vanessa Hudgens, and Denzel Washington have frequented Lakers games in previous seasons.

Lakers Retired Numbers and Hall of Famers

The Lakers are known for being a team with a consistent star-studded roster. That’s exactly why the team has retired 11 numbers worn by some of the greatest basketball players in NBA history, including:

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24
Kobe Bryant
11
Wilt Chamberlain
22
Elgin Baylor
25
Gail Goodrich
32
Magic Johnson
33
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
34
Shaquille O’Neal
42
James Worthy
44
Jerry West
52
Jamaal Wilkes

In addition to 11 numbers that’ll never be worn again, a total of 27 former Lakers players have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. These ranks include most of the players above, such as 14-year Lakers veteran Jerry West (27.0 points per game) and 12-time NBA All-Star Magic Johnson.

Then to Now

The Los Angeles Lakers are still a renowned basketball team to this day. Since 1949, they have won 17 NBA Championships — with their most recent title coming in 2020. Although it’s been a decade since their last championship, the Lakers are still considered to be a very successful basketball team with a few notable fans cheering them on.

In the 1980s, the Lakers earned themselves the nickname “Showtime” thanks to Magic Johnson and his impressive fast break-offense. The Showtime Lakers also featured Hall of Fameer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In 2000, Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant dominated the basketball scene and won three championships in a row, aka, a “three-peat.” The team almost tallied another three-peat in 2011, after winning the championship in 2009 and 2010, but unfortunately did not go on to win the championships that year.

In 2018, LeBron James — arguably the greatest player ever — joined the Lakers in free agency. After a down year marred by injuries, the Lakeshow then acquired Anthony Davis. In 2020, the dynamic duo led the Lakers to their 17th championship, defeating the Miami Heat.

The Lakers are undoubtedly one of the most well known and acclaimed franchises in all of sports.