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Los Angeles Lakers

This Date in NBA History (July 9): Philadelphia 76ers trade Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968 and more

On July 9th in 1968, the Philadelphia 76ers traded their superstar center Wilt Chamberlain to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers, plus an undisclosed amount of cash.

At that time, the 7'1" center was a dominant force in the league. He was a four-time league MVP, the first of which came as a rookie - making him the first of only two players in NBA history to be named the MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season.

He was a nine-time All-Star and nine-time All-NBA player (7x First Team; 2x Second Team). He clinched seven straight scoring titles from 1960 to 1966 but more importantly, at that time, he was an NBA champion - something no player on the Los Angeles Lakers could say.

Before acquiring Chamberlain, the Lakers had lost six times to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals (1959, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968). In fact, as a member of the 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers, Chamberlain was on one of only two teams that clinched an NBA title during the Celtics' dominance of 13 years between 1957 and 1969.

After acquiring the superstar center, the Lakers formed their Big 3 with Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor. In the five years that Chamberlain would represent the franchise (1968-73), they made the NBA Finals four times - winning the lone title in 1972.

The three Finals losses came against the Celtics (1969) and twice, at the hands of the New York Knicks (1971, 1973). However, the one championship-winning squad in 1972 was special and set multiple team records - some which have stood the test of the time.

That squad won 69 regular-season games - the most in NBA history until Chicago Bulls won 72 in 1996 - which included a 33-game winning streak, still the longest in NBA history.

When the Lakers won their championship in 1972, which was their first in Los Angeles, it was Chamberlain that was named Finals MVP. Leading the Lakers to a 4-1 series win against the Knicks, he averaged 19.4 points, 23.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 47.2 minutes per game.

Other notable events on July 9th

  • In 2010, the trio of Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade were introduced as the Miami Heat's Big 3 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.
  • In 2010, David Lee was traded by the New York Knicks to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, a 2012 2nd round draft pick (Quincy Miller was later selected), and 2013 2nd round draft pick (Romero Osby was later selected).
  • In 2018, LeBron James officially signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent.

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