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NBA Courting Los Angeles

February 18, 2010 |  8:00 am

Feb. 18, 1960, Lakers

Feb. 18, 1960

Los Angeles was being courted.

"We don't regard the games as test contests—Los Angeles fans already have shown they appreciate big league sports," Marty Blake told The Times leading up to the Lakers' games at the Sports Arena against the St. Louis Hawks. Blake, a longtime NBA official and draft guru, was identified as the Hawks' business manager. "Of course I can't say who will get a franchise there or when but I know the Lakers are interested in moving to your town."

The Times was looking ahead to the available college talent that the Lakers might be able to pick up. Since the Cincinnati Royals had territorial rights to Oscar Robertson, the paper speculated the Lakers might have to decide between Cal center Darrall Imhoff and West Virginia guard Jerry West.

"How can they lose?" Mal Florence suggested.

They picked correctly, of course, getting West to join their young star Elgin Baylor. Imhoff was drafted by the New York Knicks, eventually played four seasons with the Lakers and was part of the package traded to Philadelphia for Wilt Chamberlain.

--Keith Thursby