End of an Era

End of an Era

Postby Rooscooter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:00 am

I'm one of the more "seasoned" members around here along with half a dozen others that have seen 3 or 4 distinct Era's of Laker Basketball come and go. I think we are seeing the end of the second best one I've witnessed.... the Kobe Era.

I first started following the Lakers (My Dad's favorite team) in the early 70's right about the time of the 72 Championship. I don't have many memories of that team other than sitting in the lower sections with my Mom (who wasn't really a fan of basketball) and Dad and thinking Wilt was huge. It was one of the fondest memories I have of my mom who passed away that year so that game (against the Warriors) has a special place for me. That Era was coming to a close just as I began to get interested in the NBA and the Lakers.

The next Era was the one I remember as I was going through my teens. The "Goodrich" years with guys like Happy Hariston, Wilt for a year or two and Jim McMillian. They lost to the Knicks in 73 and then went down hill for a few years until Kareem arrived. Wilt retired in 73 and Connie Hawkins arrived to fill the scoring gap. That team was smashed by Kareem's Bucks in the first round and that was officially the end of the run.

75' saw a 30 win season and missing the playoffs. Lucius Allen and Stu Lantz were on that team as was Pat Riley along with Goodrich who was my favorite player at the time.

Kareem arrived the next year and even after trading most of the team to get him they still won 40 games. Goodrich was getting older but still was putting up great numbers. He is a forgotten great of the 70's along with so many others that get overlooked during this decade. For the next few years most of the team would come and go including Goodrich in 76. These teams kept making the playoffs but were largely a collection of older role players and Kareem.

In 78 Nixon arrived and his play gave Kareem some room to operate for the first time as a Laker. Adrian Dantley and Jamaal Wilkes were also on the 78 team. Kareem missed 20 games that year because of Kent Benson's chin or that team may have gone deep into the playoffs. 79 saw Cooper arrive and 80 was the beginning of the "Showtime" Era and Magic's arrival.

Now this may be a surprise for some here but when Buss bought the Laker's from Jack Kent Cooke in 79 most in the press and in LA thought that was a bad thing. A playboy Chemist/Real Estate guy buying a sports franchise. Buss was just about the second coming of Hugh Hefner at the time. His ownership of the Lakers was viewed nearly as bad by the fans as Jimmy Buss's is now.... He erased those fears in a few years.... Hopefully the acorn follows the tree....

Magic's enthusiasm changed the entire makeup of the team. While he was about the only bit difference in 80 from the 79 team the entire atmosphere in the Forum was different. Kareem had to work half as hard for the same points, Wilkes was always open and Nixon seemed to have an open lane all the time. Nixon actually was the point guard on those team and led the team in assists when Magic was a rookie.

81 was a tough year. Rumors of trading Kareem and he and Magic not getting along were all over the place. Kareem, Wilkes and Nixon were all in one group and Magic in another. Magic hurt his knee this year and I believe if he hadn't Kareem would have probably been traded. Magic was still a pain in the butt in 81-82 and got Westhead fired 11 games in (7-4 record) and replaced by the "Color Commentator"... Pat Riley. Riley had played with Kareem and was able to have those two find common ground. He really invented what everyone remembers as Magic Johnson. Kareem would open and close games as the focus and the middle two quarters were run...run...run. While I firmly believe Kareem was the best and most important player when the pressure was on during this time Magic was the "Star" of those teams.

Wilkes and Nixon went... Rambis, Worthy and Scott came in. The run lasted until Detroit smashed us in the finals and Kareem retired. 2 years later Magic was gone... Era over.

The next Era was the 90's mediocrity period. Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt. This group was very fun to watch. You didn't know if they were going to lose to the worst team in the league by 10 or beat the Bulls by 10. Every night something different... and different player playing great and a different player playing poorly.

This Era was a Coaching roundabout. Dunleavy, Pfund, Bertka and even Magic as Player/coach. That group could never capture any consistency but they were a blast to watch.

Del Harris came in and stabilized the coaching. Ceballos became the go to guy and we still didn't do much until 97 when Shaq and Kobe arrived. Shaq missed over 30 games that first year in LA or we may have been seeded much differently in the playoffs that year.

Kobe Era- This era had two distinct parts. The Shaq-Kobe era and the Kobe Era. Most here became fans during this time and only know Laker basketball from this perspective. While I love watching Kobe and appreciate Phil's influence this Era was not the funnest to watch other than Kobe for me. While not nearly as successful the 90's teams were a blast to watch. Everyone was having fun on those teams which was not always the case in the Kobe era.

I think this one, barring a miracle, is coming to a close. All of you younger posters out there that came to know Laker ball through this one will now see a transition but I can tell you as a 40 year fan that they will rise again.... they will find the top players again and they will win again.
Last edited by Rooscooter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby dwighthowardsdad on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:10 am

Great, great thread. Some optimism for a change. Thanks for recapping all that in such great detail. We've had a lot of success as an organization. I firmly believe we'll be fine. We always are...
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Re: End of an Era

Postby The Rock on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:14 am

I know they will bounce back from this because they have a track record of doing so but how long is it gonna take to bounce back? We've taken a hit image wise because someone left $30 mil on the table to go a 2nd rate franchise...think about that for a second. Even if Dwight is not a No.1 player hes still an elite player in this league (Even though he has questionable intangibles). He may not be the biggest piece to the championship puzzle but hes still a huge chunk that has the tools to help a franchise get there. When other superstars are looking at our team in order to get this bad image out of their eyes we need to have some young stars on the team (which can be acquired thru the 2014 draft). You have youth and potential, the stars will flock here. If we have a roster with nothing but capspace and hoping a super star would sign here, you're sorely mistaken. Mark Cuban's Mavs says hi. They've been a middling team and they couldn't attract any stars despite having a championship coach and all that capspace. The Mavs roster simply doesn't have any exciting stars and potential for the future. We need to start there. Its a new NBA and we need to adjust accordingly
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Re: End of an Era

Postby KareemTheGreat33 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:17 am

Great post. The Lakers are the real "phoenix" of the NBA.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby 432J on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:17 am

well said
:jam2:

yes there's lots of uncertainty in the future but these are the lakers. no team can be successful forever, there will always be a dry spell. happened after the showtime era in the 90s, happened after the three-peat years in the mid 2000's, and it's happening again now after the back to back rings.

we always find a way back to the top soon enough. and remind everyone once again why we are the greatest franchise in the NBA
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Re: End of an Era

Postby scissors on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:20 am

Great write up Roos. Lakers have a great track record and have the best fanbase in any sports history. I believe we will bounce back.

I lived through the 80s showtime era and the dark years of the 90s so all this is not new to me. I just hope it doesn't take another decade to become contenders that's all.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby karacha on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:32 am

Rooscooter wrote:Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt.


I loved that team. :jam2:
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Rooscooter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:41 am

karacha wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt.


I loved that team. :jam2:


Of all of the Laker teams I've followed I'd have to say those guys were probably the funnest group to watch. I still remember Elden Campbell almost single handedly beating the Bulls in 97 by 16 points when Shaq was hurt....
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Re: End of an Era

Postby KentuckyLaker on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:50 am

I agree with the OP 100%. I'm only 18, so the earliest I remember watching LA was around the time Shaq-Kobe got started. The only Laker rebuilding phase I've experienced in my lifetime was 05-07, but I guess that's going to change really quick. Still, although the losses are likely to rack up, I'm excited- I'm ready to see a new leader emerge and a new championship team be built from the ground up. It's not goodbye for the Lakers- just goodbye for now. Go Lake Show!!
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Re: End of an Era

Postby lotus on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:53 am

Well stated recap of the Lakers eras. I also thought the 90's were a fun time as a Lakers fan because you could enjoy the players trying to make a name for themselves without the true expectation of a championship.

But, when I saw the thread title, I really thought the era coming to an end was going to be the Dr. Buss era. For me, that's what is at the fore of my mind and, given the botched opportunity yesterday, it's the one that concerns me the most. I felt that Kobe's era ended after Phil left, and no I don't believe he will get another ring as a Laker. But, the beginning of the jim buss era is the future we have to look to. The Rock just stated the concerns nicely, so I won't go into the details of my concerns.

Now that I think about it, the Kobe era ends when the jimmy era begins. How ironic.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Alleyhoops on Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:58 am

Nice post, Roo. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. I, like you am one of the vets in here. I became a Los Angeles basketball junkie as a kid in the early to mid 60s. I was drawn in by a couple specific factors; the beginning of UCLA's domination with a scrappy, disciplined team and the intense rivalry between the Lakers and Celtics. I took it all in, hook, line and sinker and have lived and breathed L.A. B-Ball ever since.

In this new era of communication, with so many voices able to be "heard," I don't believe Lakers ownership will be able to operate very long in "down" mode without intense backlash. In another era, Frank McCourt probably would have been able to run the Dodgers into the ground for quite a few more seasons before feeling enough pressure from the community to step aside. This should hold true for the Lakers. This is an intensely passionate fan base, and the pressure it places on ownership to put championship caliber teams on the floor is second to none. And TWC, a media partner with a vested interest in the Lakers will not sit silently through very many down years.

We're gonna be alright.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Balance&Options24 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:11 am

I was too young to remember the show time Lakers, but I followed along with my brothers favorite team. I didn't start to really follow the team until the Van Excel, Divac, Ceballos. I believe if it was not for them we would have never gotten Shaq or Kobe, they might not have been great but they were up and coming and help make the Lakers an attractive destination for players. I don't think Shaq comes without the contribution of those players, maybe Kobe would have still got traded but then again the only reason we traded a pretty good C in Divac cause West felt Shaq was attainable. But to get back Roos' main topic, I do believe we will be back on top. One player will take on the challenge of restoring order and continuing the tradition. It might not be one of these generations players. I just believe the tradition, the city, and history will have a top player wanting to be a Laker.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Azndude2190 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:22 am

You don't have to be a seasoned Laker fan to know they'll be back. This is the natural cycle of any sports team in the long run. The next season or two will be tough, but with higher draft picks and more cap space we'll eventually be contenders again, while other teams like Miami, like SAS get older.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby karacha on Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:34 am

BTW, Divac was really good back then.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Rooscooter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:16 pm

Thanks guys. I think ownership will have to change. While I love what Mitch has done he needs to change as well. We've got to start turning every stone looking for the next great player(s).... not just hoping that SoCal and Lakers lore attract stars through mega deals. 8 to 10 years of that philosophy has left the cupboard bare and unfortunately the immediate future as well (traded 1st's). We've ignored developing young talent and it cost us a guy like Howard (along with a bunch of other reasons).

This rebuilding can be done a couple ways.... swinging for the fences (2014 plan) or building from within (getting picks and smaller moves). I think a combination of both is needed to get us back but the days of having 2 Max Superstars in their prime and a decent deep team around them are most likely gone. The new CBA is a mofo for teams like us in that respect.

I hope they blow it all up now this summer and get picks and youth. Even if they are not stars they are assets for future flexibility when stars are available.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby lakersyunowin on Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:21 pm

karacha wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt.


I loved that team. :jam2:

ditto. eddie jones was my favorite laker for a while...so bummed when he left. had a similar (but lesser) reaction to when ariza walked.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Rooscooter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 1:22 pm

lotus wrote:But, when I saw the thread title, I really thought the era coming to an end was going to be the Dr. Buss era.


I've seen the entire "Jerry Buss" era... his coming in was not met with just about as much animosity as Jimmy is getting. Cooke was a beloved figure in LA sports and him selling to Buss was not really highly thought of at the time. That turned out OK.... that DNA is somewhere in.... I hope it surfaces soon.

The bigger issue for me is the personnel department Mitch is great at the big deals but we need scouts again and a focus on the small moves.... not just the big ones IMHO.
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“The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present - and is gravely to be regarded." Dwight Eisenhower

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Re: End of an Era

Postby Nashty Gal on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:02 pm

karacha wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt.


I loved that team. :jam2:


so much!!!
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Re: End of an Era

Postby nthydro on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:04 pm

Rooscooter wrote:
karacha wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt.


I loved that team. :jam2:


Of all of the Laker teams I've followed I'd have to say those guys were probably the funnest group to watch. I still remember Elden Campbell almost single handedly beating the Bulls in 97 by 16 points when Shaq was hurt....


Don't forget Seadoo Ceballos :man10:

The Kobe era was just amazing. So so many great memories. Even during the dark times after Shaq left, Kobe kept us all entertained with his brilliant individual performances. I get teary just thinking about the end :man6:
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Rooscooter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:11 pm

^^I remember watching Kareem's final game against Detroit in the finals..... the last time he took the floor. He was done and a shell of what he had been just 18 months before.... it was the hardest thing I've ever had to watch sports wise.....
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Re: End of an Era

Postby TIME on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:13 pm

Thanks for the trip down memory lane Roos. I'm one of those few old guys that still remembers those eras, and I became a Laker fan all the way back in the 2nd age of Lakers history when Jerry West was not the awesome GM of the team but the star player. I agree with most of what you posted except that for me the Magic / Showtime era was the most fun to watch, and the Shaq / Kobe era was my 2nd favorite time as a fan.

What I am not as confident of going forward is the appreciated sentiment that the Lakers will always rise again. I hope they will, and they certainly might, but I am no longer confident they will. Of course what has changed is ownership. The Buss name is not what has been magical, but the savvy, drive, and commitment of the man that no longer owns the team, Jerry Buss. I do not see anything close to the same qualities in his son that I saw in the father. Jim MAY develop into an approximation of his Dad, but I think that potential would have become evident by now. Instead I see many reasons to fear that we have arrived at the title of your thread; the true END of an era.

I like Mitch a lot, and think he can minimize / forestall to some extent the inevitable, but I don't think Mitch can control the big decisions that have brought us to this point. That said, I remain and always will be a Lakers fan. I will live and die with the team in the coming descent. I'm simply not sure that we will ever win another championship. There was a time when it was unthinkable to say the Knicks were done winning championships, but the reality is that it has been FORTY years since the last Knicks championship and no indications they are going to win another one anytime soon. The reason for that really boils down to ownership.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Aonex on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:13 pm

karacha wrote:
Rooscooter wrote:Nick Van Exel, Eddie Jones, Elden Campbell, Divac, Peeler and Sedale Threatt.


I loved that team. :jam2:


Yup, was pissed as hell when we traded Eddie for Glen Rice, who I feel really wasn't that useful.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby John3:16 on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:15 pm

Great write-up Roo.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby Lakerjones on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:24 pm

Great post and thread Roo. Great follow up posts, too from everyone. I got into the Lakers shortly after Kareem arrived (ca. 1976-1977), but I was just a kid and loved the Cap but didn't really understand basketball. My schooling came when Magic got here. I saw the vaunted Bird/Magic college showdown and then really got into the Lakers full on after Magic arrived. I loved the Showtime teams and the height of my fandom was probably 85-88, although I kept on the love ever since. I was also a huge fan of that 90s team with Nick the Quick and Eddie Jones - fun days. The Shaq era wasn't quite as fun for me as I didn't love Shaq and his attitude so much, but the championships were incredible and I loved Kobe, Phil and the rest of our guys. This last period with three Finals runs led by Kobe and Pau was also one of my favorite periods. I loved Pau when he got here and it's really bummed me out to watch his game and mentality diminish as quickly as it has. I thought the guy was built to last like a Kareem - but he wussed out on us in a massive way.

I really thought Dwight could help us get back to the promised land. I'm very disappointed that he jumped ship. But I'm also thoroughly disappointed in the direction the franchise has gone under Jim Buss. He's not the sharpest tool in the shed. In that regard the apple or acorn is falling far from the tree, Roo. I don't see, haven't seen, anything that gives me hope or faith that Jim is able to follow in his father's shoes, and I haven't seen any of the brilliance of Jerry Buss in him. He seems like a knucklehead. And if one is to look at his coaching hires I don't see how you could say otherwise. To fire all of our scouts doesn't seem like a smart move either. I just don't have the belief in him that I had in Jerry Buss who carried us with such brilliance, poise and savvy. He had luck, too, I believe. I haven't seen those qualities from Jim and until I do I'm going to be concerned about the future of this franchise.
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Re: End of an Era

Postby 432J on Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:26 pm

let's face it folks, the next couple seasons will more than likely be alot similar to the 05-07 down stretch this team had

sneaking into the playoffs as the 6-8 seed and losing in the first round
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