Lakers’ new Staples Center celebrates 16 titles
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Lakers added two stars to their roster and 16 to their court this offseason.
After infusing the team with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers redid their Staples Center floor by adding 16 stars, one for each championship the team has won. That total puts them second in NBA history, behind the Boston Celtics’ 17.
Each of the stars, as you can see in the photo, is numbered. Let’s go over them, as a refresher course:
1949, ’50, ’52, ’53, ’54: Back when they were in Minneapolis, the Lakers were led by the NBA’s first dominant player, George Mikan. Mikan had the help of Hall of Famers Slater Martin, Jim Pollard and, except for in 1949, Verne Mikkelsen. But they were role players. (Note: The first title came in the Basketball Association of America, which became the NBA for the 1949-50 season.)
1972: The Lakers lost eight NBA Finals between their 1954 and ’72 titles, seven times losing to Bill Russell’s Celtics. But the 1971-72 team was one of the greatest ever assembled, with Wilt Chamerlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich leading a team that went 69-13 under former Celtics star Bill Sharman.
1980, ’82, ’85, ’87, ’88: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the Milwaukee Bucks to join the Lakers in 1975, but it wasn’t until they added Magic Johnson with the No. 1 pick in the 1979 draft that Los Angeles got over the hump. Then the titles started coming in. James Worthy was added for the 1982-83 season. The Lakers went to eight of the 10 Finals in the 1980s, winning five, losing two to the Celtics and dropping another to Pistons.
2000, ’01, ’02: The first three-peat in Los Angeles Lakers history came thanks to the guidance of two pretty good players: Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. O’Neal was the primary force, winning all three Finals MVPs and one NBA MVP in this span as the NBA’s most unstoppable force. But as Bryant’s star grew, he and O’Neal butted heads, which led to the 2004 Finals loss to the Pistons and O’Neal’s exodus to the Miami Heat.
2009, ’10: Bryant drew some … [For more on Lakers' new Staples Center court celebrates 16 titles, click here.]