Minneapolis-Los Angeles Lakers: NBA All-Time Starting Fives

Rather simply waxing poetic about my team, I will validate the claim that the Minneapolis- Los Angeles Lakers are the greatest franchise in the history of the NBA, and perhaps all of professional sports.

In 62 seasons, the Lakers have made 57 postseason appearances, had 50 winning seasons and have only missed the playoffs twice in the same decade once—when they missed consecutively in 1974-75 and in Kareem’s first season with the team, 1975-76 (despite having four more wins than the Pistons, who made it out of the Western Conference’s other division).

The franchise that came into existence in 1948 as the Minneapolis Lakers won a championship in its first season. Over the next five seasons, the last of George Mikan’s great career, he and fellow great Jim Pollard were joined by future Hall of Famers Vern Mikkelsen, Slater Martin and Clyde Lovellette as the Lakers won another four championships.

With Mikan gone, the Lakers were absent from the NBA Finals for each of the next four seasons and missed the playoffs in 1957-58, with a league-worst 19-53 record. It would be almost two decades before either of these things would happen again.

In the 50 years since the NBA expanded to an 80-game (now 82-game) schedule, the Lakers have won 50+ games in a season 31 times and 60+ on 11 occasions. The rest of NBA history has seen 52 60-win teams.

In 62 seasons, the Lakers have advanced as far as the conference finals 42 times. They have participated in exactly half of the last 62 Finals series, including 10 of 15 from 1958-72 and nine of 12 between 1979 and 1991.

The Lakers have won 16 championships—second all-time to the Celtics’ 17—but hold a 11- 6 edge over the past 40 years, 10- 4 since 1980 and 5- 1 since 1990.

Sustained excellence? Thy name is the Lakers.

As for star power and individual greatness, there’s been a steady stream of tha...

About the Author