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Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history

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Does L.A. Want the Lakers?

Feb. 23, 1960, Lakers 

Feb. 23, 1960: Minneapolis Lakers owner Bob Short was ahead of his time.

Reading comments made by Short to a group of basketball writers, one could assume he owned a team in 2010 rather than 1960. After all, he was trying to move his team and had a spot all picked out, but he still felt the need to play hard-to-get.

Short desperately wanted out of Minnesota and given the Dodgers' success in L.A., the city looked like a sure thing. But among Short's issues were the proposed rent at the Sports Arena was too high, he wasn't sure the league fathers would approve the deal (it was not his decision, poor guy) and he wanted the Lakers to be wanted. Seriously.

"It's apparent that he would like some form of an official invitation from the city of Los Angeles," Mal Florence wrote in The Times.

I doubt he was holding L.A. hostage, but what silliness. As St. Louis Hawks owner Ben Kerner said, "There shouldn't be any fuss about L.A. being a good sports town. … The NBA should come to Los Angeles."

--Keith Thursby

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Comments (2)

I'm certain that Bob Short made those comments about the Lakers being "wanted" by the City of Los Angeles because he was fully aware of the red carpet rolled for the Dodgers by the City (and County). A natural bargaining point for a businessman; to go where you're wanted versus where you think they may want to have you.

Bob Short, years after his death, remains one of the most despised men in Washington, D.C. A decade after owning and moving the Lakers, he bought the expansion Senators, with the apparent plan to move the franchise. He did, after the 1971 season, and Washington was left without baseball for a third of a century. Read Shelby Whitfield's book "Kiss It Goodbye" for the incredible saga of Short's years running the Senators.


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