LOS ANGELES – Fans of Thursday night’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs commemorated the arena known for more than 22 years as Staples Center at its last event before it was christened Crypto.com Arena on Saturday.
“Staples,” as it was known colloquially in Los Angeles, has become synonymous with the Lakers’ championship teams led by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Pau Gasol and coached by Phil Jackson. The Lakers won the NBA Championship each of their first three seasons at Staples Center and won three more titles while calling the building home.
At halftime in the Lakers’ game against San Antonio, the team featured former Lakers players Gary Payton, Byron Scott, Luke Walton, Metta Sandiford-Artest and Robert Horry, each trotting to stand in the middle of six trophies. each resting on a plinth. in the field.
Staples Center also hosted three NBA All-Star Games whose MVPs were O’Neal, Bryant and LeBron James, respectively. The 2011 All-Star Weekend featured the legendary dunk of LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin on a car on All-Star Saturday. Additionally, Bryant’s 81-point milestone in 2006 as well as his 60-point performance in his last NBA game in 2016 came on the hardwood of Staples Center.
AEG Worldwide, the owner of the arena that has housed the Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers for the past 20 years, sold the naming rights to office supply giant Staples in 1997 for $ 116 million for a term of 20 years that started at the opening of the arena. its doors in downtown Los Angeles in 1999.
The building will be renamed Crypto.com Arena on Christmas Day, when the Lakers face the Brooklyn Nets (8p, ESPN). The Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform bought the rights to AEG for $ 700 million over 20 years, according to multiple reports.