Zeroing in on the Los Angeles Lakers

By November 7, 2022General Admission

By Al S. Mendoza


I write about the Los Angeles Lakers not only because they are the NBA’s most glamorous team but also because they are the Filipinos’ favorite squad in the NBA.

Likewise, I find joy digging on their feats because their 17 titles is an NBA record in a tie with the equally eminent Boston Celtics.

But the Lakers’ 15 Finals’ losses is also an all-time high, making Los Angeles, formerly known as the Minneapolis Lakers, as the greatest NBA team in history.

Among the Lakers’ legendary players include George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy and Kobe Bryant, among others.

Bryant, a consistently explosive scorer, fired 60 points in the Lakers’ 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz on April 14, 2016.

That was Bryant’s last NBA game.

Before his 60-point farewell game, Bryant banged home 81, 65, 62, and 61 in regular NBA season games.

Only one other NBA player had done five 60-plus points in five games:  Michael Jordan.

Jordan, arguably the best basketeer of all time, recorded 69, 64, 63 (in playoffs at that), 61 and 61 while playing for the Chicago Bulls.

But Bryant’s 81-point barrage in 2006 against the Toronto Raptors remains one of the best performances by any player in NBA history.

Too bad that some five years or so ago after Kobe retired in 2016, he died in a chopper crash in Calabazas mountains off Los Angeles, California.

He died together with several others, including his daughter.

They were on their way to a basketball tournament where Bryant’s daughter was set to play.

But there’s one more Laker that has scored 60-plus points—not only five times like Bryant and Jordan, but more.

Chamberlain, 7-foot-1, was a Laker from 1968 to 1973, fired more than 60 points 15 times!

Called “The Big Dipper,” Chamberlain had even unloaded 100 points, the most in NBA history, in one game.

The Lakers remain as the NBA’s most colorful players, with Jerry West’s winning shot from center court his lasting legacy.

So brilliant a guard West was that his iconic dribbling style was selected as the permanent NBA logo.

West’s successor was the brilliant Magic Johnson, at 6-foot-9 the NBA’s tallest point guard ever.

Johnson was so gifted that he could play all positions with equal dexterity as guard, forward and center.

When Jabbar, the Lakers’ adroit 7-foot-2 center, got injured, Johnson took his place and powered the Lakers to a title-clinching victory in one of the classic Laker-Celtic thrillers.

The current Lakers’ crop, spearheaded by Hall of Fame-bound LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, are struggling.

But after a dismal 0-5, win-loss start, they are showing signs of rejuvenation, scoring back-to-back wins against Denver and New Orleans.

The 120-117 overtime victory over New Orleans last Thursday was a heart-stopper, coming after the Lakers had forged overtime on a buzzer-beater three by Matt Ryan for a 111-111 count at regulation.

James and Davis combined for six of the Lakers’ nine overtime points in a performance that, hopefully, would lift the team’s sagging spirit this early in the season.

Go, go, go Lakers!

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