By Adam Goudcheaux, Contributing Writer
January 7th, 1972 – The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Atlanta Hawks 134-90 to set an all time American Professional Sports mark of 33 consecutive victories.
This coming in a year where the odds were stacked against them to accomplish the greatest winning streak in Sports History. They lost their best player, Elgin Baylor, to early retirement at the beginning of the season, were playing under a new coach, Bill Sharman, and had two aging superstars in Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. The streak started on November 5, 1971 with a win over the Baltimore Bullets 110-106. The Lakers wouldn’t lose another game until January 9th when future Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabar and the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the them 134-90. That Lakers team was one of the greatest in NBA history. They won 69 games that year, a record that wouldn’t be broken until the Chicago Bulls won 72 games in 1995-96. The Lakers breezed right through the playoffs, sweeping the Chicago Bulls in the conference semifinals, ousting the Bucks in six games in the conference finals, and then zipping by the Knicks in the Finals, four games to one. After years of frustration the Lakers had finally earned an NBA Championship, the team’s first in Los Angeles and the first for the franchise since 1954. Chamberlain was named Most Valuable Player of the Finals.
And that Lakers team put up a win-streak that will probably never be matched. Not in any sport and especially not in the modern era of the soft NBA player that can’t handle back to back games.