The Evolution of the Los Angeles Lakers Jersey

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From Minneapolis to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Lakers are a big part of NBA history; however, their start began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1947 – before the NBA even existed. Back then, the Lakers were a part of the National Basketball League but made the jump to the Basketball Association of America after their first season. When the NBA was established in 1949 after the BAA merged with the NBL, the Lakers joined it after their second season ended.

The Minnesota team was named the Lakers in direct reference to the state’s motto: “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” While California does not have the same distinction, the team kept the name when it moved to Los Angeles in 1960. They then became the L.A. Lakers.  

The Lakers are regular participants in the NBA’s postseason, marking 60 appearances in the playoffs out of a possible 69. They won their first NBA Finals game, as the Minneapolis Lakers, by beating out the Syracuse Nationals in the 1949-50 season.

Since then, the Lakers have strung together an impressive 15 additional championships, most recently during the 2009-10 season, and have paved the way for a multitude of the game’s biggest stars. Kobe Bryant, who recently retired, played for the Lakers for the entirety of his 20-year NBA career. Other notable players include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played in L.A. for 14 seasons; Elgin Baylor, a former Minneapolis Laker who made the move east with the team; the late great Wilt Chamberlain, who spent his last five NBA seasons with the Lakers; Magic Johnson, whose entire career also took place with the Lakers; Shaquille O’Neal, who played for many teams but spent the biggest bulk of his career with L.A.; and Jerry West, a 14-time All-Star who played back in the Lakers’ early days when they first came to L.A.

Since the move to L.A., the Lakers jersey has undergone just a few evolutions. Let’s check them out.

The Lakers Jersey Over the Years

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1960–1966: The white inaugural L.A. Lakers jersey is quite different from what we’re familiar with today. The overall bright white design is accented by two shades of blue. The player numbers are a dark blue and are highlighted by a lighter blue drop shadow. A blue double line trims the U-shaped neck and arms, and “Los Angeles” appears on the front in a cursive font.

1966–1972: In 1966, the iconic Lakers gold makes its first appearance in L.A., as the home jersey changes from white to gold. The gold color is familiar to older fans, as it is a facet of their first uniform in Minneapolis. The gold Lakers jersey – paired with purple – is trimmed in white, while the player numbers are trimmed in purple. “Lakers” appears above the numbers in a flowing block script, which trends up toward the left shoulder at an angle.

1978–1999: This uniform is familiar to many basketball fans, as it appears during what’s known as the “Showtime Era.” The gold jersey remains trimmed with purple and white, which is reflected in the player numbers – purple paired with white trim. The script for the team name remains virtually unchanged, although it’s no longer at an angle.

1999–2017: The modern-day Lakers home jersey continues the purple-and-gold scheme, but it now features a V-neck and a solid purple stripe flanked by thin white stripes on the sides from the armpit to the waist. The player numbers are white and outlined in purple, but the drop shadow of years past has been removed.

If you’re ready to head to Staples Center to watch your Lakers take on their next opponent, or the court you’re presiding over in your living room, check out the sweet Lakers gear you can get at Fanatics.com.

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