Los Angeles Lakers: On this day in team history, March 20th

(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports)
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports) /

We take a look back at this day in Los Angeles Lakers history, as March 20th was the date that the team retired the jersey of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

It will be a few weeks until we see the Los Angeles Lakers back on the court. With the NBA suspending operations, the news is slow regarding the current team, but it has given us a chance to look back on the team’s illustrious history.

For a team as successful as the Lakers, there is a lot to look back on. March 20th will forever be remembered by Lakers fans not for a specific game, but for a specific event. On this day in 1990, the Lakers enshrined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in their team’s lore, retiring his No. 33.

It was an honor that Abdul-Jabbar had more than earned. He had an incredible basketball career, starting with his time in college at UCLA.

Abdul-Jabbar was dominant in college, leading UCLA to the national championship all three years he attended there. In those three years, he averaged 26.4 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. He won the Naismith award for the 1968-69 season and was an All-American all three years in college as well.

That led to Abdul-Jabbar being the No. 1 pick in the 1969 NBA Draft. The Milwaukee Bucks were awarded the No. 1 pick via coin flip with the Phoenix Suns, who selected second and took Neal Walk.

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Cap spent the first six seasons of his career with the Bucks, winning a championship in his second season. He made the All-Star team all six seasons as well, as he averaged 30.4 points, 15.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game during his Milwaukee tenure.

On June 16th, 1975, Abdul-Jabbar was traded to the Lakers, along with Walt Wesley, for Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters. His would cement his illustrious career under the bright lights of Los Angeles.

Abdul-Jabbar would play until he was 42 years old, spending 14 seasons with the Lakers. While his statistics weren’t always as dominant in Los Angeles as they were in Milwaukee, he did win another five championship rings with the purple and gold.

Cap finished his career as the all-time leading scorer in NBA history, a record that he still holds. LeBron James has a chance to reach that number if he can stay healthy, but he will hold onto it for at least a few more seasons.

Five years after his jersey number was raised to the rafters, Abdul-Jabbar was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was inducted along with fellow Laker Vern Mikkelson, Anne Donovan, Aleksander Gomelsky, John Kundla, Cheryl Miller and Earl Strom.

Next. 10 Greatest Centers In Lakers Franchise History. dark

Abdul-Jabbar was not only one of the greatest centers in NBA history, but one of the greatest players in the history of the league. He more than earned his spot among the Lakers greats and in the Hall of Fame.