This series of articles will feature a countdown of the Top 16 Greatest Lakers of All Time, as decided by the followers of Lakers UK on Twitter and Instagram.
Continuing with number 13 – Byron Scott. We take a look back at the uber-athleticism he exhibited in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.
Lord Byron played 11 of his 14 seasons with the purple and gold, playing 30,361 minutes in 996 games, scoring 15,003 points. Scott ranks 7th in minutes played and 9th in points scored for the Lakers. He also had a short stint as the Lakers Head Coach, although only winning 38 games in his 2 years in the role he is far from being considered a successful coach.
Scott almost played 1,000 games for the Lakers, winning 3 championship rings in the late ’80s becoming a key scorer during the Showtime era. Scott is a favourite of the veteran Laker fan-base. Playing between ’83-’97, he became a key piece in bridging the gap between the Showtime Lakers and the 3-peat Lakers. Passing down his knowledge to the young Lakers of the time.
Scott has several great in-game moments, one being the 35 points he scored against the Pheonix Suns in Game 4 of the 1989 Western Conference Finals to help the Lakers advance to their 3rd straight NBA Finals. Another would be the buzzer-beater 3 he hit against the San Antonio Spurs in 1990.
But the highlight we have settled on for this recap is a pair of dunks against the Golden State Warriors in the 97-’98 season.
Scott Posterises Short (Twice):
The athletic Byron Scott was quick to show off his outstanding athleticism throughout his career, this occasion was not an exception to that rule. When given the slightest opportunity, Scott would jump over his opponent if he had too.
The opportunity presented itself once again for Scott in a regular-season game between the Lakers and Warriors in 1998, embarrassing the ironically named 6-foot-7 Purvis Short. By posterising him, TWICE!
It’s the first half and the Warriors are in the half-court offence. Chris Mullen has the ball on the right-wing, completely blanketed by Micheal Cooper’s defense he attempts to pass the ball out to Sleepy Floyd in the right corner. Seeing the pass before its completed, Scott throws his hand into the passing lane and intercepts the ball.
Knocking the ball the other way, Scott chases it down and drives on the fastbreak. In hope of stopping him, Short begins his pursuit. As they cross half court, Scott glances across at his trailing opponent as if to say ‘meet me at the rim bud!’. Scott crosses the 3-point line and gathers the ball, he leaps towards the rim. Short gets there, arm outstretched he jumps but not in time. As he swipes for the ball, Scott powers through the contact and the foul, finishing on Short’s head.
Spinning a full 180 degrees from take-off to landing, Scott turns to Short and gloats. Taking offence to this, Short picks a fight, shoving Scott. Scott retaliates and grabs Shorts arm, giving a bit back. The two have to be separated before it boils into something more, thus creating a distaste between the two.
Into the second half, Scott gets a second opportunity to show off his jumping ability. With the Warriors on offense once again, the ball is delivered into the paint to the waiting Terry Teagle. With Michael Cooper, A.C. Green and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar between him and the rim. Teagle opts for the floater, as if not to anger the sleeping giants underneath the rim, but he short arms it and it bounces off the front of the cylinder.
Green palms the ball down to the already in stride Cooper, its 3 on 2 as Golden State desperately scramble to recover. Cooper does right and runs hard down the centre court, knowing that the passing lane will open up with both Magic Johnson and Byron Scott staying wide for the moment. Then there’s the passing lane. Floyd decides he is going to try and stop the ball, leaving Scott to continue his assault on the rim.
Cooper drops a perfectly weighted bounce pass into the sprinting Scotts chest. Almost all in one motion, Scott catches the ball, gathers himself and begins his ascent towards the rim. Meanwhile, Purvis Short locks his eyes onto Scott, revving up his engine for an assault on the ball. Short takes 2 long strides into the paint and jumps.
But Scott is already up in the heavens, Short is unable to attain the height required to even dream of blocking the dunk. The 6-foot-7 wing bounces of the 6-foot-3 guard like a child losing grip on the monkey bars, one arm in the air, defeated and ashamed. Scott however doesn’t notice a thing, he powers through the foul once again and finishes the play.
Scott was acquired with the 4th pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, by the San Diego Clippers, before being traded to the Lakers. He grew up in Inglewood, playing at Morningside High School, in the shadow of the building he would later make his name in, The Forum.
Scott became an All-Rookie player and a 3-time NBA Champion with his hometown team, truly earning his place on this list as a Laker great.
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