Today making her debut on this site is the superbly talented Sandra Evans. A writer and owner of the website 'Sports Management Degrees'. Today she gives us a history lesson in the name of the Lakers. Check her out.
Learn something new everyday: Why are they known as the Lakers when there aren’t really any lakes in Los Angeles?By Sandra Evans.
This may be a question that avid Lakers fans already know the answer to, but I’m sure there are people out there like me who always wondered but never took the time to find out why. Well, I actually took a little time today to do some research, and I would like to share my new-found knowledge.
The Lakers franchise actually began before the NBA existed. In 1947, the Detroit Gems of the National Basketball League (NBL) were purchased and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The new team was strong but became an even bigger threat with the addition of George Mikan, a 6-10 center who had just led the Chicago American Gears to a NBL Championship in the previous season.
The owners wanted a new name for this promising new team, so they chose a name that honored the Minnesota state nickname, “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Calling themselves the Lakers, the team won the NBL championship in their first season (1947-48). There was no denying that Mikan was an amazing player. Scoring an average of 24.4 points per game in postseason play, the NBA calls Mikan professional basketball’s “first superstar.”
The Minneapolis Lakers moved to the Basketball Association of America (BAA) for its 1948-49 season. That year, George Mikan led the team to another championship; he played the last three games with a broken wrist and still scored 22 points in game five.
In 1949, the NBL and BAA merged to form the NBA. The Minneapolis Lakers became an even stronger team with the addition of a few promising first-year players. Unable to be stopped, the Lakers won the first NBA Finals in 1950. After that, the team went on to win three more NBA finals in 1952, 1953 and 1954. After George Mikan retired, the franchise began to struggle with attendance, so they decided to relocate to Los Angeles in 1960.
To keep the team’s great history and winning tradition alive, the franchise chose to maintain the name, and the Los Angeles Lakers became the first NBA team on the West Coast. Since the move to LA, the Lakers have won 11 more NBA championships and 25 conference titles. It seems that no matter where the home court, the name “Lakers” is associated with winning.
On a side note: Did you know that there are actually a few recreation lakes in and around the Los Angeles area? The largest one nearest to the city center is Echo Park Lake, a 9-acre lake that allows fishing and has paddle boats. Also, Minnesota is actually a land of approximately 11, 842 lakes, not 10,000, with more shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
About the Author: Sandra Evans owns the website Sports Management Degrees. In her leisure time, she enjoys playing tennis and writing.