The Staples Center has been a part of the L.A. skyline since 1999, when it opened in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles and became home to multiple professional sports teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Kings.
The arena is expanding even more with new renovations planned for 2019 including an outdoor seating area that will be surrounded by a 200-foot screen showcasing events from all over LA as well as movies playing on giant screens throughout every section of Staples Center
The “lakers first game at staples center” is a moment in Staples Center history. The Lakers played their first game at Staples Center on October 28, 1999 against the Toronto Raptors.
Staples Center has hosted seven NBA Finals, five WNBA Finals, four UFC pay-per-view events, two Stanley Cup Finals, and several championship boxing contests since it originally opened its doors in 1999. For a decade, it was the site of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament, and it has hosted many NHL and NBA All-Star games. It’s also where the Grammy Awards are held every year (much to the frustration of its sports tenants, who are forced to go on lengthy road trips every January). Staples Center has become one of the most recognizable venues in professional sports throughout its 22-year history.
The Staples Center will be decommissioned on Thursday night.
The last event at the Staples Center will be a game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. For the Lakers’ planned Christmas Day game against the Brooklyn Nets (8 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN and the ESPN app), the building will be renamed Crypto.com Arena.
Before the move is finalized, we asked our sports writers from across the globe to recount some of the most memorable events in Staples Center history, and if this list is any indication, Crypto.com Arena will have a lot to live up to.
‘Frenzy on Figueroa’ and Cup collecting in the NHL
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When the on-ice officials sent the overtime goal for a video review, the “Frenzy” became even more frantic. “That was the most time-consuming five minutes of my life. The joy we felt when the goal was permitted was incredible “According to the Kings’ website, Belanger said. Los Angeles carried that momentum to a six-game series victory, but lost in the next round to the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche.
Mike Altieri, the Kings’ senior vice president of communications, has been with the club during the Staples’ seasons and views it thus way: “The Frenzy would be the ‘first’ amazing event if you wanted one. Our first Stanley Cup victory, though, would be the ‘best moment for the Kings at Staples.’”
At Staples Center, the Kings won the Stanley Cup twice. In 2014, they won their second Cup on defender Alec Martinez’s double-overtime goal in Game 5 of a series against the New York Rangers that wasn’t all that close. However, their 2012 Stanley Cup victory came in Game 6 of the series, after the New Jersey Devils had won two straight games to send the series back to Los Angeles.
The game took place on June 11, 2012, and it was a complete thrashing. In the first period, Devils forward Steve Bernier received an unforgivable boarding penalty, and the Kings scored three power-play goals during the accompanying five-minute major penalty, en way to a 6-1 victory.
The whole third session was dedicated to acknowledging inevitability. The Staples Center audience stood, shouted, and counted down the last seconds of that game, some of them having waited 45 years for the Kings to win the Cup. The triumph was made more sweeter by the fact that the Kings became the first No. 8 seeded club to win the Stanley Cup and just the second to even make it to the Final.
For the last four seasons, the Kings have been rebuilding and have accumulated one of the strongest prospect pools in the NHL, eager to create new memories at Crypto.
Greg Wyshynski (Greg Wyshynski)
Shockers stun Buckeyes in college basketball
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OSU had been led all season by 6-foot-7 junior Deshaun Thomas, who was often the recipient of another assist from Aaron Craft. Although Thomas scored 21 points against Wichita State, he missed all six of his 3-point tries, while Craft was 2-of-12 from the field.
In the paint, Ohio State was stopped as well, with Carl Hall of WSU recording a season-high six blocks. At this stage in his career, Wichita State freshman Fred VanVleet was still coming off the bench, but he scored 12 points and made a critical shot in the 40th minute that bounced all around the rim before landing. VanVleet’s bucket, along with Tekele Cotton’s critical 3-pointer, gave the Shockers just enough of a lead to win by four points.
Wichita State was furious enough and talented enough to reach the program’s first Final Four in 48 years, thanks to Marshall’s famed instruction to “play angry.” The Shockers took eventual national champion Louisville all the way to the closing seconds of the national semifinal in Atlanta, only to lose by four points. WSU earned a No. 1 seed the following season and won its first 35 games before losing in the round of 32 to No. 8 seed Kentucky.
— Gasaway, John
Boxing: A classic between Mosley and De La Hoya
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With a 131-119 come-from-behind win, the Clippers completed the largest halftime comeback in a series-clinching win in NBA history and punched their ticket to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 51 years, thanks to an unlikely 39-point explosion from Terance Mann, who started in place of Leonard. The Clippers had previously gone 0-8 with a chance to reach the conference finals, and were just nine months away from squandering a 3-1 lead and losing a humiliating collapse in the second round to the Denver Nuggets in Orlando, Florida.
The atmosphere was electrifying in Game 6 versus Utah. Due to the pandemic and COVID limits on spectators being permitted in the arena that season, it was the first sellout at Staples Center in more than a year. Mann, the 48th overall choice in the 2019 draft, put on an all-time underdog performance that night. When the Clippers went small, Mann was a nightmare matchup for the Jazz and Rudy Gobert, as the dynamic swingman sank seven 3-pointers. Mann surprisingly went toe-to-toe with Jazz standout Donovan Mitchell, who nailed nine 3-pointers and finished with 39 points, nine assists, and nine rebounds despite a sore ankle.
Paul George, who grew up in Palmdale, a neighborhood just outside of Los Angeles, stated, “This was my first time encountering a throng like this.” “It was just a memorable evening. The applause and enthusiasm were palpable. You could feel the Clippers’ burden lifted in terms of making it out of the second round.”
For instances like this, George wants to be traded from Oklahoma City in 2019 to be with Leonard, who grew up in neighboring Moreno Valley. He did all he could to ensure that the Clippers did not miss out on another chance to go to the Western Conference playoffs. George almost had a triple-double, scoring 28 points, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing out seven assists to help the Clippers win. Mann, Reggie Jackson, and Patrick Beverley stood on the Staples floor as history was made, pushing the audience to chant even louder.
“It just felt wonderful seeing our supporters and how they remained till the end and cheered,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “The squad has been hungry for victory, and the fan base has been hungry as well.”
— Youngmisuk Ohm
Cejudo defeats an untouchable opponent in the UFC.
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Cejudo would go on to capture the UFC bantamweight championship a year later, making him just the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two weight classes at the same time. However, Cejudo’s historic MMA career began inside the Staples Center, only a few miles from where he was born to Mexican immigrants.
At Staples, there have been numerous additional notable UFC events. In a passing-of-the-torch moment at UFC 60 on May 27, 2006, then-UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes defeated Royce Gracie by first-round TKO. Gracie, the finest UFC fighter of his generation near Gracie’s weight class, came out of retirement to face Hughes, the best of his generation near Gracie’s weight class. Hughes’ decisive win at Staples signified the start of a new, more developed era in mixed martial arts.
Ronda Rousey, the woman who catapulted women’s MMA into the forefront, is no stranger to ushering in new eras, and one of her most amazing triumphs occurred on Feb. 28, 2015, at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Rousey won the UFC women’s bantamweight championship via submission in only 14 seconds against Cat Zingano. It was the quickest victory in a UFC championship bout at the time. As soon as the bell rung, Zingano dashed at Rousey. Rousey countered her opponent’s strike, the two collided, and Rousey somehow pulled off her famed armbar from an impossible position. Rousey, a lifelong Los Angeles resident, was unbeaten in MMA until later that year, when she was knocked out by Holly Holm, who was making her UFC debut at the same fight as Rousey vs. Zingano.
Marc Raimondi’s remark
Teasley inspires LA’s second consecutive championship in the WNBA
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And it was confirmation that Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss made the correct decision in selecting Bryant over Shaquille O’Neal when the tandem was split up in 2004, sending “The Most Dominant Ever” to Miami, where he won his fourth championship.
Bryant was ecstatic to win his sixth game against the Celtics.
“It means I got one more than Shaq,” he stated during the postgame press conference, his whole face beaming.
The box score hasn’t held up well over time. The Lakers won 83-79, despite Bryant’s poor 6-for-24 shooting. He did, however, collect 15 rebounds and was a part of the game’s most memorable play, finding Ron Artest on the right wing with an assist for a 3-pointer that extended L.A.’s advantage to six points with precisely one minute left.
Regardless of his poor shooting %, Bryant used one word to describe the triumph during exit interviews with general manager Mitch Kupchak in the days after the championship: “Epic.”
It’s only become more spectacular with time, considering it was both Bryant’s and Dr. Buss’ last Lakers title. After a battle with illness, the longtime Lakers owner died of renal failure less than three years later. Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died less than ten years later in a horrific helicopter accident.
That Game 7 triumph was as storybook as it gets for a youngster who had his grandparents ship him VHS recordings of classic Lakers-Celtics clashes to watch while his father played pro ball in Italy, and for a man who committed his post-playing days to narrative.
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The “when was staples center built” is a question that has been asked for years. The answer to the question is: Staples Center opened in 1999.
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