On this day in 1972, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 134-90 for their 33rd straight win — a winning streak that still stands as the longest in the history of major professional sports.
The unprecedented streak began on November 5, 1971, with a 110-106 win over the Baltimore Bullets, and ended January 9, 1972, with a 104-120 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
LAKERS WIN 33 IN A ROW
The engine behind the Purple and Gold’s success was captain Wilt Chamberlain, playing in his penultimate season. The 7-foot-1 center anchored the defense with nearly 20 rebounds a game and distributed the ball on offense while chipping in almost 15 points himself.
Playing off Chamberlain, the other Lakers were each at the top of their game, and none flourished more than Gail Goodrich and Jerry West. The pair combined to score over 52 points per game.
1972 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP
The Lakers history-making run during the regular season was no fluke. The team finished with a 69-13 record before dominating the Chicago Bulls and Bucks in the playoffs, then defeating the New York Knicks 4-1 on way to the franchise’s first NBA title since 1954.