The Lakers of the Late 90s

January 17, 2018 Sammy Gunnell

The Lakers have a rich history... Jerry West, Kareem, Magic and Shaq are just a few names which you could throw out in any Lakers conversation and get a nod of approval. A while ago I put out an Instagram post with the caption 'Who is the greatest Laker of all time?' The responses were varied. This is because there are so many greats, you almost need to do it by decade or era to have a more accurate breakdown!
The Lakers aren't always great though, the last few seasons have proved that, but it was also true in the mid 90s. After the glorious 80s and the Magic of Earvin Johnson came to abrupt end, there was a small rebuilding period. Players such as Vlade Divac, Anthony Peeler and Cedric Ceballos kept some playoff hopes alive, but all in all they were at best, average.
in 1996 this changed. A young center known as Shaq took his talents from Orlando to Hollywood and a year later was joined by an 18 year old kid called Kobe. Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel provided some explosive fire-power too and by 1998, all four would be All-Stars at the same time. Showtime was back in LA, Purple and Gold was worn with pride and Jack Nicholson had something to smile about again.
It wouldn't be until the new millennium that the Lakers would win their first title with their updated squad, by that point Van Exel and EJ had moved on and The Forum was old news, but the dynasty was healthy... on the court at least. 
I didn't like the Lakers of the early 00s, partly because they prevented AI, Reggie and Jason Kidd from winning titles, in addition, weren't the underdogs anymore. There was also just something about that late 90s squad. Perhaps it was the forum, or the classic jerseys, or perhaps it was the potential and promise of future success. Perhaps, in this case, the journey is greater than the destination. 

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