October 19: The Los Angeles Lakers

LakersBy the end of the 1959-1960 NBA season, the Minneapolis Lakers had suffered record attendance lows, and the team wasn’t that good either. In the ensuing months, two events happened that would forever change the Lakers franchise. First, due to their terrible performance that season, the Lakers got the second pick in the 1960 NBA Draft and were able to draft West Virginia guard Jerry West, who went on to become one of the biggest names in Laker history and the inspiration for the NBA logo. Second, Lakers owner Bob Short saw the success that the Brooklyn Dodgers experienced when they moved out west in 1958, so Short decided to follow the Dodgers’ example and announced that beginning with the 1960-1961 campaign, the Lakers would play in Los Angeles.

So, it was on October 19, 1960 that the Lakers first took to the court under the banner of Los Angeles. Interestingly, their first game was actually a road game played against the Cincinnati Royals. The Lakers lost that match-up 140-123. Their first home game was the third game of the season, held on October 24, 1960 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena against the New York Knicks. It was another loss for the Lakers, and it wasn’t until their fourth game (a second home match against the Knicks) that the Los Angeles Lakers would get their first victory since the move to the West Coast.

Despite having a losing record, the Lakers made the playoffs that year. They made it all the way to the Western Division Finals, and managed to take the series against the St. Louis Hawks to a full seven games, only losing the last game by two points.

In their first few years in L. A., the Lakers wore a royal blue uniform. It wasn’t until they moved to the Forum in Inglewood in 1967 that they adopted their now iconic purple and gold look. So, in tribute to the Lakers, we’ll be mixing a Purple & Yellow Cocktail. This drink was invented at the Downtown L. A. location of Morton’s The Steakhouse during the Lakers’ march to the NBA Championship in 2010. It’s a pretty fun twist on that classic yellow cocktail the Screwdriver that adds a bit of Chambord to give it some purple.

Morton’s Purple & Yellow Cocktail

  • 2 ounce Absolut 100 Vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • splash of sweet & sour mix
  • splash of Rose’s Lime Juice
  • 1/2 ounce of Chambord

Shake all ingredients, except the Chambord, in a cocktail shaker with ice and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Carefully pour the Chambord into the glass so that it will settle at the bottom. Garnish with a skewered purple grape through an orange wedge.

Tomorrow: “I never drink…wine.”

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