By Anthony F. Irwin @AnthonyIrwinNBA on July 31, 2014
The Los Angeles Lakers and their fans have enjoyed almost unequaled success and consistency. That success has been done with maneuvering through trades, draft picks, free agency and a little help from unfortunate moves done by competitors. With Wednesday being the MLB trade deadline, why not look back on the top five trades that shaped the Los Angeles Lakers' and NBA history?
At the time of the trade Kobe Bryant was demanding out of LA after the Lakers refused to trade Andrew Bynum for Jason Kidd. Bryant would take back his trade demands and Gasol went to three titles during his time in LA, winning two.
Not including Wilt Chamberlain in this spot might be considered blasphemous but, when you consider Kobe’s threats to leave and how that would’ve altered the league, Gasol makes sense here. But it’s impossibly close.
Who is Don Ford you ask? Exactly. Ford would average a modest 6.36 points per game through seven seasons while “Big Game” James Worthy would go on to a Hall-of-Fame career that included five NBA titles and an NBA Finals MVP. As a result of this trade, the NBA would institute “The Stepien Rule” (named after then-Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien) that prohibits NBA teams from trading away consecutive first-round picks.
At the time of the trade, some actually thought the Lakers were reaching for the young shooting guard out of Lower Merion High School. Divac was a very popular player in Los Angeles and still went on to a respectable career. Kobe, however, is now the all-time leading scorer in Lakers history and has five rings in his collection.
During Abdul Jabbar’s 14-year tenure with the Lakers, Abdul-Jabbar won five titles, 3 MVPs and one Finals MVP. “The Cap” – as Magic Johnson still refers to him – anchored the Lakers as they helped revitalize the game with their “Showtime” style of play and by reigniting a rivalry with the Boston Celtics.
His impact was felt as much off the court as on it, as he helped and continues to help with cultural movements toward equality.
Few mean more to their city and franchise than Magic Johnson does to the Los Angeles Lakers. No-look passes aside; Magic has come to symbolize what the Lakers stand for. He’s invested in low income communities and helped revitalize the entire city. He’s even been the face of the Los Angeles Dodgers as they’ve recaptured city’s passion for baseball. It’s impossible to measure the ripples of that fateful coin flip had it not gone in LA’s favor.
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