Do You Know the History of the LA Lakers?


By: Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: NBA via

About This Quiz

The biggest star players, championship banners, incredible owners and executives; when you think about storied franchises, it's hard to not think about the Lakers. The Lakers franchise has been as important to basketball as any sports team has been to any league. The franchise has helped build the sport into the global brand it is today. But, how much do you know about the history of the Los Angeles Lakers? Here's your chance to find out!

What comes to mind when you think about the history of the Lakers? Is it the players who pushed the boundaries of what it means to be an NBA star? Is it all of the Finals appearances, many where they were victorious and a few where they weren't? Maybe, when you think about the Lakers, you think about the colors of the team, yellow and purple, strapped across the chest of every Lakers fan across the country. No matter what comes to mind, everyone certainly knows something about the Lakers. 

Do you think you know enough about the history of the Lakers to pass this quiz? Do you remember when they won their first title or the big time free agents who chose the Lakers over other storied franchises? If you think you do, give this quiz a shot and test that Lakers knowledge!

Which former Laker is featured on the NBA logo?

Born in East Bank, West Virginia, Jerry West decided to stay in state when he chose his college, attending West Virginia University. He led the Mountaineers to the 1959 NCAA Championship but lost to Cal.


As of 2018, how many championships have the Lakers won?

The Lakers have the second most championships of any professional team. The only team with more championships is the Boston Celtics, who have 17.


Where were the Lakers located before moving to Los Angeles?

The state of Minnesota's nickname is the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." That nickname gave birth to the Lakers.


Which center joined the Lakers in 1968 and won a title with the team in 1972?

With size and strength that few players had during his time, Wilt Chamberlain put up incredible stats over the course of his career. One of his most famous accomplishments was scoring 100 points in a single game.


Who did the Lakers defeat in the 1954 NBA Finals?

The Syracuse Nationals moved to Philadelphia in 1963. The team changed its name to the 76ers that same year.


Which player had two numbers retired by the Lakers?

Kobe Bryant spent the first half of his career wearing number 8 and the second half wearing number 24. It's often debated which player was better, the youthful Bryant with his athleticism or the mature Bryant with his killer instinct.


How many times did the Lakers lose to the Celtics in the NBA Finals throughout the 1960s?

The rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers took off in the 1960s. The Celtics dominated the decade, but the Lakers were always right there behind them.


What was the nickname of the Lakers in the 1980s?

The "Showtime" Lakers ran a fast break offense that relied on speed and great passing. The name is derived from the fact that they knew how to put on a show that fans wanted to watch.


Which point guard led the "Showtime" Lakers?

At 6'9", Earvin "Magic" Johnson stood tall for a point guard. His height allowed him to see over the other team's defense and effectively distribute the ball.


How many NBA MVP awards did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar win with the Lakers?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with six NBA MVP awards. That puts him ahead of everyone else, including Michael Jordan.


What move did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar popularize?

When Kareem used the skyhook, he was almost impossible to guard. A few other players have tried to incorporate the move into their game, but none have been as effective with the possible exception of Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon and his "Dream Shake."


Who coached the Lakers from 1981 until 1990?

As a head coach, Pat Riley is a five-time NBA champion. All but one of those titles were with the Los Angeles Lakers, and his final title was won with the Miami Heat.


Which Lakers' player won the Finals MVP despite losing in the Finals?

The 1969 NBA Finals did not go the Lakers way as they lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics. However, Jerry West averaged 38 points throughout the series including a triple-double in game seven.


What year did the Lakers set the longest winning streak in NBA history?

The Lakers won 33 straight games in the 1971-72 season. The closest another team has come is the Golden State Warriors, who won 28 straight games.


Who was the head coach of the Lakers when they won their first title in Los Angeles in 1972?

Throughout the '50s, Bill Sharman played for the Celtics alongside Bob Cousy. The duo won four NBA championships together.


In which decade did the Lakers first three-peat?

From 1952 through 1954, the Lakers won three straight championships. The first of those titles was against the New York Knicks, which the Lakers won in seven games.


What position did Elgin Baylor play?

Elgin Baylor was a star from his first season in the league, winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 1959. Baylor was elected to 11 All-Star games and was named All-NBA First Team 10 times.


Who is the all-time leading scorer for the Lakers?

When Kobe Bryant retired, he had put up 33,643 points. That puts the legendary Laker as third all-time in points for the NBA.


Who did the Lakers sign prior to the 1996-97 season?

Shaquille O'Neal was a star for the Orlando Magic before problems with the team and other players forced the big man to look elsewhere when free agency hit. O'Neal signed a seven-year contract with the Lakers worth $121 million.


What year did Shaquille O'Neal earn the NBA MVP?

Despite being the most dominant player in basketball for nearly a decade, Shaquille O'Neal only won a single NBA MVP award. He earned the award after averaging over 29 points and 13 rebounds per game.


Who coached the Lakers to a three-peat from 2000 through 2002?

Phil Jackson coached the Chicago Bulls prior to joining the Lakers. With Michael Jordan on his team, Jackson won six NBA championships.


Who did the Lakers beat in the 1980 NBA Finals?

In his rookie season, Earvin "Magic" Johnson helped the Lakers reach the NBA Finals. After Kareem Abdul-Jabbar went down with an injury, Johnson stepped up and earned the Finals MVP award.


What position did Gail Goodrich play?

Gail Goodrich was a five-time All-Star and won an NBA championship with the Lakers. He had his number 25 retired by the team in 1996.


Who was the Finals MVP in 2009 for the Lakers?

Despite being located in Los Angeles, the Lakers weren't big enough for two stars like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. The franchise chose the younger player who delivered by winning two more championships.


What number did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have retired by the Lakers?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in the NBA. At the moment, Lebron James is on pace to beat the record, which has stood since Kareem retired in 1989.


What pick was James Worthy in the 1982 NBA draft?

James Worthy was drafted out of North Carolina, where he played from 1979 until 1982. While at North Carolina, Worthy won the NCAA championship in 1982 and was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.


Where did Kobe Bryant play college basketball?

Kobe Bryant was won of the few players good enough to jump straight to the NBA out of high school. It took him a few years to develop, but you could see the star potential from the moment he took the court.


How many games did the 2010 NBA Finals last?

The Lakers won their 16th title in another classic series against the Celtics. Kobe Bryant also won his fifth championship, putting him one ahead of Shaquille O'Neal.


In the 1969-70 season, what did Jerry West lead the league in?

Since retiring from the NBA, Jerry West has served as both an executive and head coach for multiple teams. As an executive, he helped build the current Golden State roster, which has won three NBA championships.


In his final season with the Lakers and in the NBA, what did Wilt Chamberlain lead the league in?

Wilt Chamberlain finished his career as the all-time leading rebounder by a long shot. The next closer player is Bill Russell, who had 2,000 less rebounds than Chamberlain.


What year did Karl Malone join the Lakers?

Karl Malone had an outstanding career with the Utah Jazz where he went to two NBA Finals but lost to the Chicago Bulls both times. Sadly, the Lakers only got a shell of the former Malone, and he retired after one season with the team.


What position did Derek Fisher play?

Derek Fisher left the Lakers after the 2004 season to join the Golden State Warriors. Fisher would eventually make his way back to L.A., helping the team win two more championships in 2009 and 2010.


Who was hired as head coach of the Lakers in 2016?

Luke Walton was a former player for the Lakers from 2003 through 2012. He was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors before taking the head coaching position in Los Angeles.


Who did the Lakers take with their first pick in the 2017 NBA draft?

Since joining the league, Lonzo Ball has faced major criticism because of his father Lavar Ball. Lavar has publically attacked both coaches and players for the Lakers as well as star players around the league.


Who did the Lakers sign in the 2018 offseason?

After returning to Cleveland in 2014, Lebron James delivered on his promise to bring a championship to the city. With his promise fulfilled, Lebron has taken his talents to Los Angeles where all the greats seem to finish their career.


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