Los Angeles Lakers: Why Are They Always so Good?

A great deal of baseball fans despise the New York Yankees because they basically buy championships.

Lots of college hoops fans can't stand Duke because coach Mike Krzyzewski grabs a big-time McDonald's All-American every year.

Then there's the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, who not only have won plenty of titles, but rarely even have a down year. In fact, over their 63 years of existence, the Lakers have only missed the postseason five times. 

So why are the Lakers competitive 99 percent of the time? Well, one reason is that they always find a way to get their hands on a superstar.

George Mikan, the NBA's first dominant big man, joined the Lakers in the late 1940s, back when the team was located in frigid Minneapolis. The Hall of Fame center would go on to lead the squad to an astounding five titles in six years. 

Mikan retired following the 1955-56 season, but Laker fans wouldn't have to wait too long for another star to come to town. The team selected Seattle University forward Elgin Baylor with the first overall pick in the 1958 NBA draft.

Baylor would blossom into one of the most dangerous scorers in league history and later formed a dynamic duo with Jerry West, who the Lakers drafted second overall in 1960.

The team moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles shortly after West joined the club. The West-Baylor combo would carry the Lakers to the NBA Finals several times, though the team continued to come up short in their chase for a title.

In 1972, the Lakers were finally able to win their first championship since relocating to Los Angeles, thanks to a 1968 trade that brought in megastar Wilt Chamberlain.

In order to acquire Chamberlain, who some feel is the greatest player of ever, all the Lakers had to give up was Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff, making it one of the most- lopsided deals in NBA history.

That however, ...

About the Author