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.
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.
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.
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.
1948 - 1958
The Lakers’ jersey from 1948-1958 resembled their logo with the block letters in yellow and the jersey itself being a pale blue. The logo changed minimally until the team moved to Los Angeles.
1958 - 1960
The 1958 season was one of pure style. The new Lakers jersey was a sweet light blue color, and “LAKERS'' and four white stars were added on this jersey’s center.
1960 - 1966
In 1960, they updated their jersey to reflect their new home town; however, the jersey barely resembles their logo at all. While the updated jersey does still feature the iconic Lakers blue, the font has changed from block to script and the Lakers yellow is nowhere to be seen.
1966 - 1999
From 1966 to 1999, the Lakers rocked a primarily purple jersey, which is probably the jersey that is most associated with the team. This jersey ties in aspects of all of their previous logos and jerseys by keeping the numbers in a block font, the name of the team in script, and the iconic yellow is prominently featured. The biggest difference is that the team colors shifted from blue and gold to purple and gold.
1999 - 2018
In 1999, the Lakers debuted a new jersey. It is essentially the same jersey from 1966; however, the colors have been inverted so that now gold is the most prominent color and the sides are purple.
2018 - Today
The Lakers slightly updated their newest jersey with purple numbering.