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Lakers the biggest, best show in town

June 8, 2009 |  3:12 pm

Lakers Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon no doubt will raise some eyebrows in Boston when he pronounces that the Lakers are the world's most important basketball franchise.

That's sort of the inference we got from NBA Commissioner David Stern a few years ago when asked which teams he would like to see play in the Finals. The Lakers versus the Lakers, he said.

As Wilbon points out, it's difficult for the Celtics to claim the title, despite all the championships they've won, because they're not even the most popular sports team in their city. That would be the Red Sox, by far.

"The most famous names of all here are Laker names: Wilt, West and Baylor," Wilbon writes.

"Kareem and Magic, Shaq and Kobe, Buss and Jackson. The Lakers aren't the only show in town -- but they're the biggest, the best and the most important."

"That's because the Lakers, arguably, are the most important basketball franchise in the world. Yes, the Celtics have won more league championships, 17 to the Lakers' 14. But of the 60 NBA Finals in league history, the Lakers have played in 29. And it's likely that seven of the top 50 players in the history of the game are Lakers.

"It is, simply, the greatest show in American sports, barely interrupted for the past 50 years.''

-- Randy Harvey

Photo: Fans celebrate as the Lakers defeat the Orlando Magic in Game 2 of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center on Sunday. Credit: Jeff Golden / Getty Images