If you were to start a professional basketball team based out of Los Angeles 60 years ago, the first combination of colors you’d choose probably wouldn’t be purple and gold. It’s also safe to assume that “Lakers” would have been near the bottom of the list of potential team names despite how easily “Los Angeles Lakers” rolls off the tongue.
But somehow, the Lakers have made it work for the last 60 years thanks to the rich history that’s associated with the team’s name, colors and iconic logo, which has pretty much been the same since 1961. That history includes 11 championships — not including the five they won as the Minneapolis Lakers — 26 Basketball Hall of Famers and 11 retired numbers.
Admittedly, the Lakers haven’t lived up to their name in recent years, but the allure of the organization is still seemingly as strong as ever, as it landed them LeBron James in 2018. Now, the pressure is on James to deliver the Lakers a championship just like the greats before him did, and in the most recent episode of his HBO series “The Shop,” James said he feels the weight of those expectations on his shoulders every time he puts on his uniform.
LeBron James on wearing a Laker jersey (Via HBO/The Shop) pic.twitter.com/l4TSDUrHS4— Ali B (@ali_behpoornia) December 15, 2019
James isn’t the first person to share his feelings on the experience of putting on a Lakers jersey this season. After the Lakers’ win over the Washington Wizards last month, Howard said that he feels the same sense of pride James talked about when he suits up in his purple and gold armor.
“Every time we step on the court, every time we put on that jersey, we feel like the “Men in Black.” The scene in the movie when he says ‘are you ready to put on the last suit you’ll ever put on?’ That’s how we all feel every time we put on this uniform. Like ‘this is it. This is what we play for,” Howard said.
Sure, it may sound a little cliche, but general consensus among players is that putting on a Lakers jersey is different than putting on almost any other jersey in the NBA. As a matter of fact, the only teams that could probably offer a similar experience are the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls.
The hope is that feeling has a lasting effect on Anthony Davis, and that it’s something free agents still desire. If the last two years are a sign of anything, the Lakers are in a good spot.