Please indulge my senior moment and allow me to reminisce for just a minute of your time.
I'm sure I'm older than most (if not all) of the posters here. I remember listening to the Lakers on radio. "And Happy blows the layup!" The immortal words of Chick Hearn still ring in my ears. Elgin Baylor and Jerry West took us so close to the Promised Land year after year, only to be met with defeat at the hands of those hated Bill Russell led Celtics. Oh, how I wished for a center worthy of a championship contender. How close we came even with the likes of Jim Krebs, Gene Wiley, Darrall Imhoff, Leroy Ellis and Mel Counts. Mel Counts? Really?
We didn't need a Wilt Chamberlain to beat the Celtics. We finally did win our first championship here in LA with Wilt in the middle. But you know who I thought could have changed our one-sided rivalry with the Celtics around? Nate Thurmond. For those of you too young to remember, Nate was a notch below both Russell and Chamberlain. But he was a rebound eating monster. A presence in the middle that even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had to admit was his toughest defensive foe. He could drop 20 on you with regularity too.
As awesome as that championship we won in Boston on Magic's baby skyhook was, it couldn't completely wash away the memories of getting punked by the Celtics back in the 1960's. Jerry West should have won more championships as a player. Elgin Baylor didn't even get the one West had. He retired during that historic 1971-72 season. He was Dr. J before there was a Dr. J.
End of ramble.
Winners never quit and quitters never win.