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Lakers History


The Laker franchise began its existence as the Detroit Gems basketball team of the National Basketball League (NBL). The Gems were owned by Dearborn, Michigan, entrepreneur C. King Boring. The team played only one season in the NBL under the Gems name, posting a 4-40 record on the court and equally dismal results financially.

In 1947, Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen bought the Gems from Boring for $15,000. Boring would go on to own the Vagabond Kings, a professional team that found much more success barnstorming in the late 40's and early 50's than the Gems had found playing in the NBL. Nonetheless, with the ultimate success that befell the Gems franchise in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Boring's granddaughter claims that Boring later lamented that he did not maintain a minority ownership interest in the team for himself.

Quick facts:

Founded:                  1946
Arena:                    Ferndale High School gymnasium
Capacity:                 6,000
Arena #2:                 Holy Redeemer High School
Capacity:                 1,000
Division Championships:   none
NBA Titles:               none
Playoffs:                 none

Chicago Gears vs Detroit Gems with George Mikan as a member of the Gears. The Gems would eventually become the Lakers

Free Press Ad from 1946.

Newspaper article about a clock issue in the above game

Curtis Henderson, in what could possibly be the Gems home uniform.

George Mikan gets a rebound vs the Detroit Gems. Mikan would eventually play for the Gems after they relocated to Minneapolis and became the Lakers.

Two box scores vs the Chicago American Gears, including one of Detroit's 4 wins.

Gems vs Indianapolis Kautsky's.

Gems vs Royals