Just in time for tonight’s NBA Finals, today’s #TBT sports blog features a now struggling Los Angeles franchise that was once a dominant and exciting fixture in nearly every NBA championship series during the 1980s.
This talented tinsel town team perfectly fit the Hollywood hype of its Showtime nickname.
With their quick paced form of fast break basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s electrified NBA fans. Their style of play entertained the many movie, music and television celebrities who attended their home games at the old Great Western Forum.
Much of the Showtime nickname is credited to Lakers star Earvin Magic Johnson. This 6’9” point guard and overall number one pick in the 1979 NBA Draft became famous for his no look passes and extra bright smile. He led the Showtime fast break like an expert director of a major motion picture.
Johnson handled the basketball like his namesake – a magician. His recipients were Hall of Fame forward James Worthy and a tireless group of smart, athletic teammates. His fellow Lakers included Jamaal Wilkes, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Norm Nixon and Kurt Rambis.
Magic was also as good a passer in the half court game. He smartly fed fellow Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul Jabbar for easy points in the paint.
Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley scripted and managed the widely admired Showtime attack. The Lakers flourished in the 80s and advanced to the NBA Finals eight times during the decade.
The Showtime Lakers captured five NBA crowns during that popular era. They were so popular a draw, that the most popular celebrities of the time like Jack Nicholson, Dyan Cannon, Arsenio Hall, Walter Matthau and assorted members of the Jackson singing family sat court side to cheer them on.
The surroundings of the old Great Western Forum, both on and off the court, transformed the Showtime Lakers. They went from being an entertaining basketball team to a team of star-studded Hollywood entertainers who also happened to play basketball.
Nearly 30 years later and with 16 titles to their credit, the Lakers remain one of the NBA’s most successful franchises.
Because of their success, they take center stage in the #2 spot in one of my sports comics books NBA Favorites.
Thanks in a major way to Magic Johnson and his Showtime Lakers teammates, the Lakers are ranked as the league’s most valuable franchises.
And, because of the pending $2 Billion sale of their cross town rival Los Angeles Clippers, the value of the Lakers has soared.
The Laker’s Showtime teams of the 1980s helped create a Hollywood blockbuster by any industry standard.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!