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In the world of sports, there are specific names that simply loom large over the competitive landscape. Within NBA circles, both the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James carry a certain cachet. The former is one of the Association’s elite franchises, with a boatload of championships and retired numbers; the latter might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but his stats and resume speak of themselves. Put those two forces together, and things have to be great, right?

Maybe not.

Despite winning a 2020 NBA title and boasting the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook on the roster, the Lakers were recently found to be the most cursed team in the entire league. Let’s break that down.

The LA Lakers and Atlanta Hawks tied atop the ‘Most Cursed NBA Team’ leaderboard

As much as we might want to pretend that professional sports are a perfect meritocracy, there’s always room for luck to enter the equation. If we take at their word, then the Lakers and Hawks have experienced more than their fair share of misfortune.

Ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season, the website “gathered data about loss rates, fouls, turnovers, attendance, and injuries” before conducting a weighted analysis. That produced scores indicating which teams experienced the best and worst luck. Logic and the results would suggest that the stats are limited to the 2021-22 campaign, but that wasn’t specified in the original post.

The Lakers and Hawks finished with the worst scores, 23 out of 100, suggesting they’ve had the worst luck. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, and Phoenix Suns rounded out the top five, each earning 31 out of 100, while the Brooklyn Nets narrowly secured the sixth spot (33 out of 100).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the San Antonio Spurs were the luckiest team in the Association, earning 81 out of 100 possible points. They edged out the Charlotte Hornets (72 out of 100), the Toronto Raptors (65 out of 100), and the LA Clippers, Boston Celtics, and Cleveland Cavaliers (all 63 out of 100).

The Lakers’ presence atop the list shows just how fragile sporting success can be

LeBron James on the court during the 2021-22 Lakers season.
LeBron James reacts during the LA Lakers’ tough 2021-22 season. | Michael Owens/Getty Images

Bill Russell Once Received an Unbelievable Offer to Play for the Los Angeles Lakers

As the very headline of the post acknowledged, the Lakers do have LeBron James on their roster. Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook also call Hollywood home. The franchise has won an incredible 17 championships, with the most recent victory coming in 2020. How could they be cursed?

While it might not be a fun or satisfying answer, sporting success is fleeting. Parity may be a hot topic — you can find people who are willing to argue the league is incredibly competitive or incredibly stratified thanks to super teams — but there isn’t much room for error. Bad decisions, bad luck, or a combination of the two can doom a team in the blink of an eye.

At the risk of opening some old wounds for Lakers fans, the 2021-22 campaign confirms that reality. The roster was mismanaged as depth players left, and Westbrook came to Hollywood. The guard didn’t fit within Frank Vogel’s system, and things only got worse as the season progressed.

Then, on the luck front, injuries took the Lakers’ chances out at the knees. LeBron James, who continues to defy Father Time, only played 56 games due to a nagging ankle injury. Anthony Davis, whose presence is supposed to give LA another star capable of carrying the load, only made 40 appearances.

Without those two stars, the Lakers’ roster simply couldn’t cope. The club ended the season with a 33-49 record, finishing outside of the playoff picture.

So, while that’s not exactly a curse — LA did struggle during the 2020-21 campaign, too, and there’s nothing unlucky about bad roster decisions — the Lakers’ fortunes do provide an invaluable reminder to sports fans everywhere.

Enjoy what you have because you can go from a championship to the “most curse” team around in a couple of years.

Most cursed” data courtesy of