Los Angeles Lakers: Championships, NBA Finals appearances, history & more

A brief overview of the historic Los Angeles Lakers franchise.
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are imbued with more history than your average NBA franchise. From the on-court product to the media goldmine built around the team, it's impossible to separate the Lakers from the trajectory of the league over the years.

Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James.

Those are just a few of the all-time greats who have graced the court in Los Angeles. The Lakers have the second-most Hall of Fame players in league history (31). Dig further, and you will not find a team that has more consistently influenced the culture of the sport — and the broader world — more than the Lakers.

Here's a brief rundown of all the important historical facts regarding the Lakers franchise.

How many championships have the Los Angeles Lakers won?

The Los Angeles Lakers have won 17 NBA championships. The first came in 1949 when the team was still located in Minneapolis. The most recent came in 2020 when LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the Lakers over the Miami Heat in the infamous 'Bubble' season.

That gives LA the most championships in NBA history, tied with those pesky Boston Celtics. You will find that the Lakers and Celtics are often intertwined in the annals of NBA history. Several NBA Finals series have boiled down to that classic Celtics-Lakers rivalry.

Here's a list of all the years the Lakers won the NBA championship: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020.

How many NBA Finals appearances do the Los Angeles Lakers have?

The Lakers have appeared in the NBA Finals 32 times with a 17-15 record. Hard to complain too much about that. Los Angeles has sole ownership of the No. 1 spot in this category (Boston has only made 21 Finals appearances, with a much higher win percentage than LA).

Los Angeles almost made it 33 last season, but Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets got in the way. LeBron, returning for his 21st NBA season, will look to get the Lakers back to the promised land in 2023-24.

How many NBA playoff appearances do the Lakers have?

The Lakers have appeared in 63 NBA playoffs since the team's founding. That's 17 rings in 63 appearances, a conversion rate of 26.9 percent. Most franchises would sacrifice their soul to win one quarter of their postseason appearances.

When and where were the Los Angeles Lakers founded?

The Lakers' franchise began in 1947 as the Minneapolis Lakers. The name 'laker' — which means 'lake trout' or a ship built for the Great Lakes — makes much more sense in that context.

When did the Lakers move to Los Angeles?

The Lakers were originally part of the NBL before joining the BAA (eventually NBA) in 1948. The team relocated to Los Angeles in 1960 after some financial struggles.

Safe to say those struggles dissipated in the decades to come.

The Lakers enter the 2023-24 season with high expectations and a mountain of history to live up to. That's par for the course in Los Angeles, of course, and no player is more familiar with the burden of historic expectations than LeBron James.

Can the Lakers add another postseason run to the history books? Most likely. Another championship? That one is a bit more difficult to answer.

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