What’s Your Favorite Championship Team?

Darius Soriano —  September 15, 2010

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208456 Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (C) and Lakers' Derek Fisher (R) celebrate after defeating the Boston Celtics as Celtics' Paul Pierce (L) walks away during game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 83-79 to win their 16th championships.

The Lakers have been a blessed franchise.  From Minneapolis to Los Angeles the Lakers organization has fielded championship teams 16 times over and delivered fantastic memories for fans spanning several generations.  Being able to root for the teams led by the likes Mikan to West to Magic to Shaq to Kobe I think we can all agree that Lakers’ fans have been some of the luckiest in all of sports.

I bring all this up because an interesting question was raised in the comments yesterday that really got me thinking.  I’ll let commenter lil’ pau take it from here:

Artest’s acquisition, then so many injuries during the regular season including a Bynum heartbreak, then 2 out of 3 playoff series that I would call breathtaking (and the only bad one containing one of the all time best games in history), then coming back from 2-3 against the hated ones to win 2 straight at Staples, including trailing by 13 in the 3rd in game 7, to win for the first time on the home floor since 2000… and with Artest making a critical unlikely three…?!?! There’s a reason that last year turned out to be my favorite season as a fan, even including Showtime.  I wonder how others here think last season compared to other championship runs (2000 was also great, especially that incredible comeback against Portland, and also the year of the Magic baby-hook in the Garden…)

The question of someones favorite championship is a great one because I think everyone has that title run that most sticks out in their mind.  For example Chris J chimed in with his:

All told, I’d have to rank my favorite wins as 1985 — finally beating Boston, in Boston — and 1988, when the team went Back-to-Back after an all-out grind against Utah, Dallas and then Detroit.

Last season’s win will likely rank up with ‘85 and ‘88 over time. Beating Boston is always great, and there were so many memorable plays — Pau’s put-back vs. OKC; Kobe’s Gentry shot; Ron’s buzzer beater vs. the Suns; Fish’s three to tie Game 7 vs. Boston; and Artest’s three to ice the title, just to name a few.

Still, those just haven’t had time to fully sink in yet. Ask again in a few years and I bet people’s rankings are different.

Honestly, I struggle with this question as every championship celebrated has been a wonderful moment that is special in its own way.  I’ll always love 1987 because it was the rubber match between Magic and Bird where the winner would likely be seen as the better player.  2000 also meant a lot to me because of all the struggles that team went through in prior seasons before breaking through for the ring.  And 2010 will always be special because the Lakers not only beat the Celtics, but they exacted some revenge from 2008 and did it in a dramatic game 7 victory that while not pretty, showed a level of grit and toughness many thought the Lakers still lacked.  So, it’s tough for me choose one that stands above the rest.

But that’s exactly what I’m asking you to do.  What title has been your favorite?  Maybe it was 1972 when Mr. Clutch finally got his ring.  Or maybe it was 1980 when Magic put on a performance for the ages as a rookie.  Maybe it was the 2001 run where the Lakers were the playoff juggernaut that only lost one game on their way to the championship.  Let me know in the comments, but understand the entire time that as a Lakers fan you’ve been pretty lucky to witness what you have.

Darius Soriano

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49 responses to What’s Your Favorite Championship Team?

  1. Darius gave this post perfect bookends: “The Lakers have been a blessed franchise” and “understand the entire time that as a Lakers fan you’ve been pretty lucky to witness what you have.”

    Across the realm of sports, few other teams can support such a debate, especially one that takes multiple decades into account — the Yankees, Celtics, Cowboys, Steelers and perhaps a handful of others at most.

    I hate to be greedy when considering how few other fan bases can even consider a debate such as this. Then again, screw ‘em. I hope the Lakers win it all every year for the rest of time.

  2. I’ve enjoyed all the titles I’ve been around to see.

    It’s so hard to choose, in part because I still have a buzz on over the delightful 7 game Finals this past June.

    But ’80 was very special because even during the early regular season the team looked like a dynasty in the making.

    (Nice photo of Paul Pierce, by the way)

  3. I’ve only seen two championships, since I’m new to the Lakers, so I’m going to say, the most recent one against the Celtics. The whole series was emotionally draining, but impressive. Bynums determination, Fishers heroics in that legendary 4th quarter, Pau’s tip against the Thunder and Ron’s game winners against the Celtics… followed by the best post-game press conference ever.

  4. I’m going to have to go with 2000. The expectations were so high since the acquisition of Shaq and Kobe in 96. Finally, with the tutelage of Coach Jackson they were finally able to accept the changes set forth before the 2 stars and accommodating role player.

    Not to mention the ridiculous come from behind victory against Portland in Game 7, the “Kobe to Shaq” moment, and finally at the clinching victory with 10 minutes to go a bunch of my friends and I left to Staples to celebrate. (No we were not the ones that ignited the cop cars)

    Was my first championship that I truly appreciated and will always be my favorite.

  5. not sure on my favorite title, but Game 7 of 2010 is my favorite Laker game ever. Even better than the 2002 WCF game 7.

  6. I’m going to date myself here but I’d have to say 1985 for the reasons that Darius already mentioned. But also because that was the year I graduated from High School.

    It was a glorious and exciting time for me. My beloved Lakers had beaten the hated C’s at Boston finally. I was off to college and to expand my world. If the Lakers finally won at the Garden that meant anything could be possible.

    My second favorite has to be 2010. It felt like a buildup of 2.5 seasons dating to Pau’s trade in 2008 and that season ending blowout defeat. Finally culminating this year in a championship won on heart and grit repudiating all those accusations about the Lakers not having the moxie and blue collar attitude to win against a truly tough opponent like the C’s.

    The common theme in both championships that make them my favorite? Lakers overcoming past history and slights against their reputation and image and doing so against their most hated rival.

  7. 72, 80 or 09

    The Shaq-Kobe championships were terrific, but not as emotionally pleasant. The expectations so high, the internal politics sorta repellant . . . the result top notch.

    I was too young to “get” 1972, but remain a huge Logo and Wilt fan, plus the 33 wins is fantastic.

    I probably pick 1980. A fresh breeze came through: Buss, Magic, rejuvenated Kareem, great burst of new quality players after the late 70s doldrums (Cooper Chones etc). Plus two of my favorites: Norm Nixon and Wilkes. The season was a series of new pleasures building upon each other; then the completely unexpected finals victory game, where Wilkes stole the show (that Earvin guy did well too). A joy.

    Roughly similar feeling for the first Gasol/Kobe championship. ….after the Celtic beating the prior year introduced doubt into the Lakers . . . . they did it !

  8. 2010, for all the obvious reasons. But mainly because it was so much in doubt. 2009 I fully expected the Lakers to win it all, so it was great but not as spine-tingling.

    2000 was the other special year, particularly due to Game 7 v the Blazers. 2001 and 2002 I fully expected the championships and the finals were boring.

  9. The 2000 title was my favorite. Running through the dorms at UCLA and bouncing off of the walls and bouncing off of my fellow Lakers fans is something I’ll never forget.

  10. I felt like a little piece of me died the night the 08 Celtics cremated us in Game 6, so the most recent championship meant a lot, and it’s my favorite mainly because of that.

    Another reason why the most recent championship is my favorite is the theme of redemption and atonement. We experienced the highs and lows of guys like Pau, Ron, Drew, and Fish in recent years, and I was overjoyed seeing them play some heroic basketball when it mattered most.

  11. Arithia,

    Same here, but in 2010. Bruins represent!

  12. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to see a thread generated by a post of mine…. and as a coincidence, I’ve been rocking my FB&G t-shirt today.

    I’m too young for the Elgin years, but I was brought to tears (happy ones) only twice as a Lakers fan: Portland game 7 (2000) and Boston game 7 (2010) and while Portland 7 remains my favorite all-time game, nothing like winning a championship against Boston on the home floor in a dramatic comeback. That Kobe struggled so mightily (for once in a brilliant playoffs) and they won more despite him than because of him just made it that much more beautiful.

  13. Has to be when they set the record for winning percentage in a post season in 01′

  14. For me personally, I can only base on the championships won in my lifetime. So based on that I’d have to go with 2000 closely followed by 2010. The feeling of finally getting the monkey off their back and returning to the promised land after 12 long years was unmatched by any other Laker team since Showtime, especially due to the expectations of the Kobe-Shaq Lakers. 2010 also deserves mention due to the previously stated revenge and redemption factors. I wonder if PP still thinks he is the best player in the world?

  15. Even tho I loved the shaq years 2010 has to be my favorite championship team. From Ron Artests defense on carmelo, durant and paul pierce to his crazy and hilarious post game interviews after the finals game 7 AND best of all this was the year we got revenge from 2008. After loosing in 2008 it hurt bad and this was the only way to cure it. What a great year! 2010 is my favorite championship team but who knows 2011 could be better if we beat voltron

  16. “I wonder if PP still thinks he is the best player in the world?”

    I’m sure he does. He drinks the same Kool-Aid as his coach who believes his starting five has never been beaten in the playoffs.

    What happens when Boston doesn’t win it all next year? Will Doc still go around playing the, “If only we’d had Perk (or whomever else is hurt next spring)” card?

    Probably so, which makes that shot of Wheelchair Boy walking off with his head down so much more enjoyable to see.

  17. 2001 was the last one Chick did commentary for right?

    If the Lakers would have won in 2008, that would have been my hands down favorite. it was such a pleasant shock to almost win a title and play such an attractive style after Gasol came mid-season. The bench players had great seasons and the whole roster seemed to show a lot of promise that year. Of course it didn’t happen :’( so this last one will be cherished.

    I was stoked in 2009 because Phil got the record, and there are much fewer Red mentions now.

  18. I know this thread is more about personal recollection than any kind of debate, but 2000 can’t get my vote simply because the Finals themselves were such a profound anti-climax. did anyone here really think that rik smits and austin croshere were going to beat us? Once we made it to the Finals, in absolutely thrilling fashion to be sure, it was all over. That’s why, for me personally, none of the Shaq-Kobe championships can compare with 2010 or the Showtime victories– the WCF champion was all-but-guaranteed title-winner in that era, which made for some great rounds 1-3, but lame Finals.

  19. I wasn’t a full-fledged Laker fan or even a basketball fan in the 80s (I was in grade school, in Korea, so yeah). It was only during Junior High that i was really initiated into basketball, along with a computer game for 8086 XT that featured Magic and Kareem. Funny to say that I have become a Laker fan thanks to a PC game, but that’s how it came to be.

    So, my pick has to be either from the first three peat or the recent back to back, and it really has to be among the most recent back to back since I wasn’t following blogs as closely as I am now. I’m not sure if such blogs existed back then, but ever since 2006, with the flood of blogs, I really felt like I was ‘following’ the team.

    Hence it comes down to 2009 and 2010. 2009 was great since it really mattered to Kobe and Pau who were really devastated in 2008. Fisher also came through despite a bad regular season, so that was good too. Also there was some satisfaction in seeing LeBron fail, and Ariza getting a ring at the expense of his old team.

    But 2010, well, is just at another level. Kobe fought all the critics who said he was old and now worn down with some incredible performances against PHX, his nemesis during the drought years. Pau put a rest to the soft label and now is seen by some as being ‘better’ than Kobe (that seems to be Kobe’s fate, really, to always be placed 2nd in some people’s minds). Fisher not only had great shots but had a huge sequence in the game against the Celtics that was simply magical. Bynum gritted it out and into the fans’ hearts by playing with a bum knee. Sasha provided the best unsolicited drama of all time during the PHX series (a game I really thought we may lose) which set up for some more Kobe heroics, then redeemed himself by being a Machine at the very end. Odom got married (I really don’t know what he proved this year other than that he’s consistently inconsistent and then some). And our newest addition, Artest, probably proved himself in a way that couldn’t be scripted, bottling Durant, heaving awkward shots against the Suns (and sinking them), and playing a major role in defeating the Celtics, THEN topping it all off with delirious interviews that completely redeemed him.

    Yeah, 2010 is my favorite, and I’m not sure if it is possible to top that in terms of all the storylines.

  20. ’85 was a very special championship to me for reasons that have already been expressed here, but looking back on all the ones I watched since ’80, I’d say I’m partial to ’88. The field in the West was really tough that year, and at the end of the road were the Bad Boys. We always hated the Celts simply because of their team identity; but honestly, the Pistons deserved hatred because they were a bunch of dirty a-holes.

    The Finals produced a compelling, nervewracking series that wasn’t won until the final minute of Game 7. To get there, LA had to survive a harrowing Game 6 at home that Detroit could have won on the last possession. And then there was game 7 – Worthy turned in one of the greatest playoff performances ever (36-16-10), and even today watching the third quarter sends chills down my spine. Seriously – any Lakers fan who hasn’t seen it really should if you want to get an idea of just how potent the fast break could be. I remember color commentator Billy Cunningham saying “Chuck Daly better call a time out because right now the Lakers are flying!” like it was yesterday.

  21. For most impressive I would have to say the 2001 steamroll year but my personal favorite was this past year. Man was that a victory! I have never seen so much heart spilled upon a floor like that until that night. The Jazz series, even though it was a sweep, felt like the gelling point of this team, because if anyone remembers everyone was saying that we were struggling, we were this, we were that and we should be blowing out this team. Well, after game 3, my faith was rock solid. I’ve never seen so many memorable shots from anyone before in my life, topless three individual players. This truly was a fight to the grit finish and we earned it fair and square.

  22. Thats a hard question. I didn’t start watching basketball till the lock out season in 99 so I can’t say anything about the championships in the 80′s.

    It would probably be between 2000 and 2010. U remember the Lakers going up 3-1 and thinking the series was over. Even after they lost the next one and then the next, I thought no way they lose 3 in a row. Then they were getting clobbered in game 7. Losing by 19 in the 3rd quarter. I was so upset, I turned the game off. Luckily I turned it back on because I had to see the end even if they lost. It was just in time to see the big three at the end of the 3rd to go into the 4th only down 16 (only). Then the complete dismantling of the blazers in the amazing 4th quarter comeback culminating in Kobe driving down the middle of the key and throwing the lob to shaq for the dunk. One of my favorite basketball plays ever.

    This years was great too. The put back by Gasol and the one by Artest. The amazing 4th quarter agaisnt the suns by Kobe and then Kobe slapping Gentry on the butt. Fisher huge 4th quarter in game 3 against Boston and the how exuberant he was after the game to be able to help his team win one more time despite being the worst PG in the NBA according to some. Game 7 and Artests awesome post game conference were great.

  23. my favorite title is going to be 2011!
    I’ve been a fan since the early 80′s loved the Magic-Bird, and Chicky Baby era, no doubt, it’s been so cool to be in LA and a Laker fan, so many great memories of a great franchise.
    but next year, we tie the C’s!
    17 rings, can you dig it? (hate to quote Shaq here, but the sentiment is there)
    I wonder, if we get it again this year, making it 17 ‘ships, and 3 in a row… can PJ still call it quits?

  24. I was too young to remember the 85 and 88 finals, though I have seen some games and highlights on hardwood classics.For the ones I was able to follow (from pre-season to title game), I would say the 2001title ‘coz the Lakers were so dominant in those playoffs, going 15-1. I remember Kobe averaging 40+ against the Spurs! The Lakers were just so good offensively and defensively as a team that year. Also, last season was also one of my favorites, with the team ravaged by a myriad of injuries, squeaking past OKC, Kobe’s knee getting drained and then he goes for 6 straight games of 30+. The Gentry shot and tap, and the struggles and coming back from the brink of elimination from the HATED Celtics… it was just sooooooo sweeeeeeet!!!

  25. Bobji — Chick’s last season was 2002, when he missed about half of the year but came back in the spring and was around to call the playoffs.

    It always makes me smile to think that the last game he ever called was one in which he could again sign off using the words “World Champion Los Angeles Lakers.” It seemed fitting to cap a great career and great life looking down from the pinnacle, rather than after a second-round loss to the Sonics or some other team.

  26. I have to go with ’10. And yes, I’m a 31 year-old, lifelong Laker fan, so I saw the 80′s rings, the 00′s too. But, as you posted above that someone stated, the Pau putback, the Ron putback, the Fish 3 , Kobe-Gentry, beating Boston after down 3-2, down 13 in game 7, etc etc.

    And, I have to say ’10, too, because of things they didn’t mention: Fish’s latest addition to the “Fish is Clutch Too” handbook in the second half of game 3, including the drive, coast-to-coast…AND ONE, getting hammered. They also didn’t mention Kobe running off ten or eleven 30pt. games after everyone said he was done, or Bynum gutting it out, or Shannon’s 2 HUGE dunks in game 6, etc etc.

    Maybe it’s just fresher in my mind, but getting revenge on this Boston team, after the embarrassment of losing a 24 pt second half lead and losing by 39 in game 6 in ’08. Coupled with Doc’s completely misguided “our starting 5 vs. their starting 5″ nonsense(no Bynum or Trevor in ’08) and his sending tapes to the league like the C’s were following the rules and the Lakers were getting away with something they weren’t, makes the latest title the sweetest for me…

  27. I’d have to say 1972. The 33 game win streak was something to behold at the time. Also, finally getting the decade of the 60′s behind us with that championship. It was accompanied with the sorrow that Elgin couldn’t share it, but all-in-all that was probably the sweetest win for the franchise’s psyche.

    The other ones mentioned had fantastic moments – Magic’s 1st, the only opponent to clinch in Boston, 16 wins in 17 games, and the really tough-it-out pounding of the Celtics last year. However, we really got the championship monkey off the LA Lakers backs in 1972.

  28. on a related note, I see that NBA-TV has a Laker marathon scheduled for Friday: 2-hour versions of classic games from 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2010, plus related programming; 9am through midnight, central time, according to local Comcast schedule, which is notorious for its inaccuracies.
    (Portland, Sacramento, New Jersey and Boston games, respectively.)

  29. Two favorites, 1980 and 2010.

    1979-80… I was 8-9 years old. Chick Hearn calling the play by play got me into basketball just as much as the talent of Magic/Kareem/Nixon/Wilkes. Going up against the likes of Dr. J, these guys had a super-hero aura to them. These guys were so good that we tried to mimic them on the playground. Chick was also so good, that even when i was 9, I was content to listen to the play by play on the radio if I couldn’t watch it on the tube. God bless you Chick.

    2010…this was a pure team effort and pure grit, and avenged 2008. I love this team, as is constructed now. This team is up there with the Showtime Lakers, in terms of being so well rounded, with a solid core of 4-5 guys and not just two.

  30. 2010. Cause for once I got to see a LA team beat Beantown, when they were the underdog. It was made even sweeter by seeing the Lakers Big 3 removing some of the demons that have plagued them.
    ARTEST- TEMPERMENT
    KOBE- WINNING AS A TEAM
    PAU- BEING TOUGH WHEN IT MATTERED.

  31. I would have to go with 1985 the first time the Lakers beat the Celtics followed by the 1988 the first time the Los Angeles Lakers repeated as champions (Cannot forget about Riley’s guarantee from the year before).
    Also loved the 1987 team and Magic’s junior junior sky hook which might be the greatest shot in Lakers history. The 2010 team will always be special for the way they came back and getting revenge on Boston

  32. My most ENJOYABLE championship seasons were 1987 & 2001…in the same way I enjoy a 30-point blowout more than a nail-biter. The Lakers were so awesome those seasons that there was no way anybody was going to beat them 4 out of 7, barring something catastrophic, and that was a lot of fun as a fan, just seeing your guys all suited up and knowing they had the title in the bag.

    Most satisfying was always 1985…until 2010. Really, the more it sinks in, the way it all played out, and the way it ended, I think last season was about as great as it’s ever going to get. I mean, damn.

  33. Sorry to repost this, but I am still looking for this highlight. How come it has not been showed over and over again, I loved it:

    Anyone remember in which game Pau had that beautiful, gliding, one-handed baseline up and under slam!?

    I think it was all the way back in the OKC series. It was pure Dr. J.

  34. I’m Going with Todays group. I just feel it’s been a tougher stretch. Second to that is Kobe-Shaq Era. Good times. I was young watching Magic Era Championships. Mostly rmr my Dad being all psycho about it as we watched TV.

    Invite: Tag your Laker H8r friends on this graphic.
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Death-and-Taxes/101318403264603?v=photos#!/photo.php?pid=7095&id=101318403264603&ref=fbx_album

  35. I think seeing Minneapolis defeat Dolph Schayes and the Syracuse Nationals for their 5th title in 6 years was probably the greatest moment in Laker basketball up until that time. Actually I’m not quite old enough to remember any of that. I got into Laker Basketball in the early 1960′s, fantastic teams but not a good era for championships. For me seeing Jerry finally break through and win it all in ’71-’72 is the best of all. I only wish that my favorite Laker of all time, Elgin Baylor, could have still been a part of the team and shared it with them.

  36. I wish I were older during the Showtime years, because I know no other team could touch that one. The year that stands out as the best to me, however, is the 2000-01 team that only lost games when they chose to. That team absolutely dominated the league and only lost one playoff game. In other years of the Shaq/Kobe era, there were some really memorable matchups in other years, but WOW!

  37. As a fan of 40+ years, I have enjoyed so many victories… and they have all been glorious. The best for me were being in the Forum in 1982 for Game 6 against the Sixers… popping champagne with the entire neighborhood after beating the hated Celtics in the Gahden in 1985 … walking up Highland Ave with a thousand fanatics to the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl after the Repeat win in 1988…

    But the greatest championship for me was being 6 rows from the court in Game Seven this year. We felt like we were in the ring in a heavyweight championship fight. Everyone was standing, screaming, sweating and willing our guys to win.

    And we did, in an amazing, take your breath away, tears streaming down our faces way!

    The only thing that could beat this feeling is if we do the same thing in the same way again next season. And I KNOW we will.

    Go Lakers!

  38. The ’88 team has always been my personal favorite. No team before or since has won THREE Game 7′s on their way to a title. The Lakers had to knock out three incredibly good teams in the Jazz, the Mavericks, and the Pistons. They had a target on their backs and the weight of Coach Riley’s back-to-back guarantee on their shoulders, and they endured to become the first repeat winner in almost 20 years. That squad exhibited everything that Laker haters glossed over… they were tough, mentally and physically, and supremely focused. No soft “LA Fakers” crap here.

    And I agree 100% with comment #20… if you want to see want “Showtime” in the 80s was all about, just watch the third quarter of Game 7 in ’88. Magic pushing the ball, Scott and Worthy flying to the hoop, A.C. working the boards, everyone hustling and busting their butts on defense. Aside from Worthy’s brilliant play, the two things I’ll always remember about that quarter: Byron Scott taking the ball on the fast break on the first possesion and flushing it over Laimbeer (still gives me chills) and how special a player Michael Cooper was. Coop was in a horrific shooting slump that postseason but he came up HUGE in that quarter, playing great defense, sacrificing his body and taking charges, knocking down big threes, talking trash and getting under Isiah Thomas’ skin. Coop helped blow that game open and they needed every point to hang on and win.

    Anyway, this not to demean any of the other title teams, I love ‘em all. The 2010 team was really resilient in they own way too… but to me the ’88 team just left it all on the court and squeezed the most out of themselves with their effort and determination.

  39. 2010, 2000 and 1988 are my picks with 2000 getting the nod over the other 2 at the moment, but as time goes by 2010 will likely take its place.

    2000 is special to me because I actually gave up on the team. I was working nights then and I watched up until the 4th quarter. I was willing to be late to work that day if it was a close game, but we were down big in the 4th…looks like it just isn’t our year after all. Maybe Shaq will never get over the hump. Depressed, I went to work and when I got there…I found out that somehow they pulled it off…and I missed it. To me, they’ll always be the team that proved me wrong.

    And I know this isn’t part of the scope of this post, but I have to give 2008 some love. I know they don’t count because they aren’t a champion but if you asked my honest opinion for favorite Laker team ever, they’re my pick. Simply because they came out of nowhere. Remember how the season started. Kobe wasn’t “probably” going to be traded, it seemed like a lock; he would have rather played on Pluto. Keeping this in mind, a lot of preseason picks put the Lakers outside the top 20…and I agreed. But the team started out hot, kept it up, Kobe was talked off the ledge and everything looked great. Then things started looking even better with the Ariza trade and shipping Cook out of town. Then bleak with the Bynum injury and the start of that road trip. Then Gasol came and things were bright again. All through the playoffs.
    I know it came to a lousy, unfulfilling end, but maybe that was the way it had to be. From low expectations to dizzying heights make that team stand out in my mind. Those 1st 20 games where the team overachieved and Kobe was talked off the ledge in retrospect probably saved the franchise. If Kobe had OK’d the trade to the Bulls, our last 3 years of memories wouldn’t have happened. If the Lakers start out 5-15 instead of hot, maybe he would have said yes.

  40. Jay — Good point about 2008; that season is hard to remember fairly given how disappointing the Boston loss was.

    But if you get over those ill feelings from the Finals, that really was a special season considering where the team appeared to be as late as training camp of 2007, when Kobe was still leaking stories to Bucher about his imminent trade to the Bulls. To go from that to MVP, winning the west on the way to back-to-back titles… an amazing turnaround.

  41. After thinking long and hard, I have to go with 2001. Yes, the regular season was mired in Kobe/Shaq bickering and underachievement. But that playoff run was the greatest I have ever seen from ANY team. We always complain about the Lakers lacking killer instinct. I specifically remember Kobe and Shaq taking great pleasure in crushing the Spurs.
    I always hated hearing that one Spurs player declare that the Forum “was shut down for the last time” after LA lost to the Spurs in ’99. Burying the Spurs the way they did in 2001 was sweet revenge for that comment.

    Also, no matter how one may feel about Shaq now, those back to back 40 point, 20 rebound games against the Kings were insane! At that point in time Shaquille O’Neal was truly the baddest dude on planet Earth. And who could forget Kobe’s killer closeout game four. He lit Sacramento up with 46 points and 16 rebounds.

    And had the Lakers not waited for nearly two weeks to play Philly I am sure they would have swept them as well.

  42. For me it has to be ’85. It seems like a tough call until I really think about it. The weight of the Celtics dominance was light years beyond what it was this last year. We had just lost to them the year before, when they got their second title of the decade to match our two. Furthermore, we had never beaten them for a title. Never.

    I was devastated in ’08, but could still fall back on the thought that we’d been better over the last thirty years. There was absolutely nothing to fall back on in ’84. Add to that the fact that it was both a rivalry of franchises and teams. Both the loss itself and the atmosphere, epitomized by the Rambis clothesline, in ’84 ratcheted up the pressure and angst. In ’08, we had a rivalry with the jersey, but not the guys wearing them. That was an assembled team with no history, not a team that we’d grown to hate and fear over the course of years. So, ’85 blows ’10 completely away in terms of sweet satisfaction at vanquishing the Celtics.

    In addition, that was the peak of the classic Showtime Lakers. With the Magic-Scott-Worthy-Rambis-Kareem starting five and Cooper, McAdoo, and yes, Kupchak coming off the bench (and even Wilkes on the bench in street clothes), this to me is my favorite Laker team. In part because I was young (19), but mostly because I tend to like skill. And this was a ridiculously skilled team. With Magic at his peak, Worthy coming into his own, and Kareem still able to ring up a 30-17-8-3 stat line, that is as much skill as any team has ever had.

    They got the monkey off the back of the franchise, and did it in style. The ’87 and ’88 teams were grittier, savvier tougher, but that ’85 team was more fun and fluid.

    And I grew up with those players, so they hold a place in my heart that these current players can never hope to. I love Pau as much as anybody, but he ain’t as good as Kareem. And you can make an argument for Kobe being as good or better than Magic, but there is no chance that I will ever enjoy watching him as much. And, of course, no one on this current team will ever come close holding a spot comparable to Worthy’s in the Laker pantheon.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s not even close. I think last years win will grow in stature in my mind over the years, but with the bad taste from the poor overall play in Game 7 still lingering, it’s still far behind the golden era of ’85-’87-’88 for me.

  43. I consider the 1987 squad the best Laker team I personally witnessed, so that championship is probably my favorite. I still consider Magic’s baby hook the greatest sports play I’ve ever seen.

    For what it’s worth, here’s my ranking of the 8 championship Laker teams I’ve seen with my own eyes: http://sanmateopete.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/the-greatest-laker-teams-i-personally-saw-2010-edition/

    Thanks for the topic, Darius!

  44. Me personally, its really a toss up between the 2000 team and this years championship team. I’m a little too young to remember when Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Coop, Scott, and others were winning in the 80s, but i do remember the better part of the 90s. In those early Shaq and Kobe years, getting beat by Utah in the playoffs in back to back years, then getting swept by the Spurs in 99, made that 2000 championship really special. I can still remember vividly how much i was jumping around and yelling in my house when we were making the comeback in Game 7 of the WCF against Portland. And the Kobe to Shaq lob to seal the victory, priceless! And of course i did more of the same when we won it all against Indiana. But 2010′s team definitely had its moments. And just remembering back to the loss to the Celtics in 2008, and having to deal with facing two Celtics fans at work after Game 4 of that series and especially after Game 6 was something i dreaded lol. But that’s what made this year’s run special also, with the drama of a winning a Game 7 at home, against that team with those ugly green jerseys, lol dont get any better than that. But Darius is definitely right about Lakers fans being fortunate to be able to say out team has won 16 titles, and very consistently over the decades. There is no debate, the Los Angeles Lakers is the greatest NBA team of all time in my opinion. Now its time to get ready to go for banner # 17. Can’t wait til opening night.

  45. I also get a few laughs when i bring in the dvd of Game 7 of this years finals and try to get my co-worker to watch the horror of his team getting so close, but eventually falling short, priceless lol. So base on that feeling alone, 2010 team gets a slight nudge over 2000s championship team.

  46. This is just something to think about, but would this debate be just a little different if the Kobe-Shaq team in 2001 had made it through the playoffs and finals with a perfect 15-0 record??

  47. Do anyone know how or where I can find vintage Lakers games to watch?? I’m talking about from the 90s on down to 60s and 70s. I’ve been reading the book on the 50 years of LA Lakers history and it goes through each year from 1960 up to 2009. Its a good read though.

  48. Definitely 2010 for me. I’m 27, so too young for the early 80′s series. I loved the first 3 peat…but none of those finals were ever in doubt.

    The roller coaster that was game 7 2010 is just about the most awesome Finals game I’ve witnessed. Artest’s 3 and blowing kisses to the crowd? Kobe totally choking on offense and having that seasick look on his face, but calming down and hitting some big shots at the right time and beasting on the glass? Fisher knocking down big 3′s, yet again? Ray Allen going ice-cold? Pierce getting blanketed by Artest? Vujacic, who has been in the doghouse almost constantly, stepping to the line and burying those free-throws?

    The Lakers coming from down 3-2 in the series to beat the same Celtics who embarrassed them in 08??

    That was the series I wanted all along, as some people here might remember. The stakes were so much higher and a loss would have been so disappointing…but the victory was so much sweeter than 09.

    And Kobe was positively unconscious in Phoenix. This dude is not on the downward slide yet and I think the rest he’s taken this summer is going to put him at the same level he was at the start of last season pre-injury, when he was destroying everyone in the post and people were raving about how he had somehow improved his game again.

    I’d love to see Kobe grab regular season and finals MVP this year.

  49. I’d have to say 2000 was my favorite championship because it was the first of my lifetime and it changed my love for basketball into an obsession. Watching such a talented group of role players around Shaq and Kobe was simply beautiful basketball. Watching players like Ron Harper, Robert Horry, A.C. Green and even Jon Salley, who already had championship backgrounds, guide Shaq and Kobe to grow not only as players but leaders to win 3 championships straight was a blessing for those few years and although it all ended horribly a few years later against Detroit it was still an amazing accomplishment to start the 2000′s out with a bang after going over a decade without a title. This a franchise that is used to being in the finals every decade even if they don’t always come up on top the Lakers to me are the greatest franchise in sports not just because they are my favorite team but because winning is in their blood and they’ll do anything to be in contention every year.