The Lakers have had roughly the same look since they re-located to Los Angeles in 1960. Outside of the five years they were the blue and white Los Angeles Lakers, they’ve donned a purple and gold uniform with the “Lakers” wordmark across their chest. It’s arguably the most classic look in the NBA.
With a look as classic as the Lakers’, it’s hard to make a uniform look bad, but it’s even harder to make a uniform stand out from the rest. With a simple change they made ahead of 1978-79 season, they did just that.
To be clear, there wasn’t anything wrong with the way the Lakers’ jerseys looked prior to 1978 — in fact, some people actually prefer the white letters with the purple drop shadow. However, after the Lakers made the decision to switch to purple letters with a white drop shadow, they won five NBA championships in 10 years.
Coincidence? I think not.
In all seriousness, these jerseys have the benefit of being worn by the Showtime Lakers, which were led by Basketball Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. For that reason, the Showtime Lakers jerseys were our pick for the “Best Jerseys in Lakers history,” the first part of SB Nation’s Jerseys Week.
The blue and white jerseys that the Lakers wore from 1960 to 1996 deserved serious consideration, and we almost picked it just to pressure the organization into bringing them back for next season, but there’s just no way to compete with the Showtime Lakers. We also gave the baby blue Minneapolis Lakers jerseys a hard look, but they’re technically property of Minnesota, so we decided not to touch them.
The Lakers’ current uniforms were inspired by the Showtime Lakers unis, so they’re low on the list of jerseys that fans are clamoring for them to bring back, but it would be pretty amusing to see them bring the shorts back again, so long as they’re better sports than the 2007-08 Lakers were.