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Lakers reunite to celebrate 1985 title

Beth Harris Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Pat Riley were among the Los Angeles Lakers who reunited Monday night to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their NBA championship victory over Boston.

After eight failed attempts, the 1984-85 Lakers finally beat the Celtics, capped by a Game 6 victory in the Boston Garden. It was the team’s third NBA title in five years.

Led by Kobe Bryant, this season’s team didn’t qualify for the playoffs — just the second time since 1976.

“There’s nothing in the world like seeing all these guys again,” said Johnson, a Lakers vice president and part-owner. “It’s too bad we couldn’t line them up for this Laker team. We’d probably take them out, anyway — at this age.”

The ‘85 team was honored at halftime of L.A.’s game against the Phoenix Suns. Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson received the loudest ovations.

“People say that things get old. The bond that we established with you fans will never get old,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

Riley coached the team and West was the general manager who had brought them all together. Also in attendance Monday were Michael Cooper, Jamaal Wilkes, James Worthy, Bob McAdoo, Mike McGee, Larry Spriggs, Mitch Kupchak (the current GM), Kurt Rambis (current assistant), Ronnie Lester, Chuck Nevitt and Byron Scott, who coaches the New Orleans Hornets.

“This team loved to win and they enjoyed being around each other. They treated each other special,” said Riley, who is now the president of the Miami Heat.

Worthy agreed.

“We really liked each other.”

West, the Memphis Grizzlies’ president of basketball operations, recalled the team’s title as the proudest moment of his life.

“All of us were young and somewhat immature, but without a doubt it’s the greatest team I ever saw play,” he said.

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