1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers Gather to Root Against Houston Rockets

andy millerCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

We see it every season. Some NBA team goes on a long winning streak, and the 1971-1972 LA Lakers get together to try and put the jinx on the current team.

The current streak by the Houston Rockets has some worried, but not former Laker great Gail Goodrich, who said “This has me more nervous than some of the other 10 game streaks, 12 game streaks. They are playing well, but I do not know if they can do it. Yeah, I sit at home with my Rockets voodoo doll in one hand, and a bottle of champagne in the other. The minute they lose, we are popping that champagne, Baby! I hope no one breaks our streak. I sit up at night, worrying about it.” 

Former Lakers Head Coach Bill Sharman will sit in with the TNT broadcast team tonight to root on the Celtics against the Rockets. “I make no bones about it. I do not want our streak broken. We were the only ones to win 33 straight, and I root against anyone who approaches it. I think it is the mature, adult thing to do. Some people say it is time to move on and grow up; I say no way. It is our record and no one should touch it.”  

Flynn Robinson, a reserve guard on the 1971-1972 Lakers, says he cannot bear to watch. “I just sit in my garage, and stare blankly into the sky. It means too much to me. I mean, we won 33 straight games. I hope no one breaks it. If the Rockets get past 30 games, I do not know if I could handle the pressure.” Robinson says he thinks it is very sophisticated of him to ignore friends and family, and simply focus on his team’s accomplishment from over 30 years ago.  

When reached for comment, former Laker reserve Keith Erickson tried to diminish any current record, fearful that some team might in fact one day beat the Lakers record. “When we played, it was so much harder. Look at these Rockets. I mean, they charter planes, ride first class. We had to walk from city to city with luggage on our back. We were not allowed to play with clean uniforms. If we wanted clean uniforms, we had to stop by a motel, and rob the tiny soap off the cleaning lady’s cart. Do you know how small those soaps are? Well, try washing Wilt Chamberlain's uniform with that. It was impossible! The man was 7 foot one, and there we are, scrubbing his shorts in a rest stop outside of Newark.

“These guys today are so pampered. Even if the Rockets defeat our record, and I spend every single, solitary waking moment praying they do not, it means nothing, and I am still a very special person, a very important part of sports lore. I want people to understand this. Man, I hope the Rockets lose.” 

Perhaps it was put best by Jim McMillian, who scored 19 points per game during the 1972 playoffs. “We had a special group. Me, Wilt, Pat (Riley), Jimmy (Cleamons), Gail, Trapper (John Trapp), so many moments, so much fun. Even if they break the record, and I pray they do not, they still have to win the title. People forget that. It is not like we won 33 straight then decided to pack it in. We won 33 straight and won the title. Let’s see the Rockets do that. I just bought this NBA League pass thing just so I could keep an eye on them.

“Do I root against them? Yeah, I do. I know where I will be Tuesday night, getting together with the guys, rooting for the Celtics. If the Celtics win, we will all look up to Wilt, knowing he is up there watching, and we will do a toast, knowing that we are still better than them. It just seems like the mature, adult thing to do. Go Celtics!”