It was a moment that forever changed the NBA. It was Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Championship between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers had a 3-1 series lead but they relaxed and allowed Portland to win games 5 and 6. With 10-minutes left in Game 7, the Lakers rallied from a 15-point deficit to defeat the hapless Blazers, 89-84. It was the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in a Game 7 in the history of the NBA. The Lakers advanced to the Finals for the first time since 1991 and won their first title since 1998.
The Game 7 comeback, and the subsequent championship, erased a 3-year stretch where superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant failed to lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals. If the Trail Blazers had won that series it's conceivable that the Lakers would have made drastic roster changes in the offseason that would have greatly altered the course of the National Basketball Association. Instead, the Lakers remained intact and won the next two NBA titles for a total of three in-a-row.
The Lakers were founded in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan but they soon moved to the city Minneapolis, Minnesota. Here the franchise adopted the name "Lakers," as the state of Minnesota is known as "The land of 10,000 Lakes." The team moved to Los Angeles in 1960 and into the Staples Center in 1999. The team, aligned in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference, has a rivalry with just about every team that plays out west, but their main rival is the Boston Celtics. Those two teams have met in the NBA Finals 11 times.
Entering the 2009-2010 season the Lakers hold records for the most wins (3,000), the highest winning percentage (61.8%), and the most NBA Final appearances (30). Also as of 2010, the Lakers have only missed the playoffs in five seasons and their 33-consecutive wins in the 1971-72 season is the longest of its kind in North American professional sports. The franchise has won 16 NBA Championships, only the Boston Celtics have won more (17).
The Lakers have fielded 14 Hall of Fame players and four Hall of Fame coaches. Four Lakers have won the Most Valuable Player Award a total of eight times. Some of the all-time greats that have played for the Lakers include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal.