Lakers Moments: The start of something great
Major players: Lakers coach Butch Van Breda Kolff, far left, applauds play during a game against the Warriors in 1968. On the bench, from left: Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Bill Hewitt and Keith Erickson. The Lakers ended up winning the game, 133-101.
Looking for some help in their quest to end their NBA title drought, the Lakers acquired center Chamberlain before the 1968-69 season began. It appeared to pay off, as Chamberlain led the league with 21.1 rebounds per game while West and Baylor each averaged more than 20 points.
The Lakers stormed through the Western Division playoffs, setting up an NBA Finals rematch with the Boston Celtics. The series went to seven games, but despite having home-court advantage in Game 7, the Lakers lost to the Celtics for the sixth time in eight years.
West was named the most valuable player of the Finals, still the only time a member of the losing team has won the award.
Read more about the 1968-69 roster in All Things Lakers, the L.A. Times’ interactive database of all things purple and gold.
-- Sarah Ardalani
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times