Home » The biggest moments in Staples Center history from the NBA, NHL, WNBA, UFC, boxing and more

The biggest moments in Staples Center history from the NBA, NHL, WNBA, UFC, boxing and more

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Because it first opened its doorways in 1999, Staples Heart has performed host to seven NBA Finals, 5 WNBA Finals, 4 UFC pay-per-view playing cards, two Stanley Cup Finals and numerous championship boxing matches. It was the house of the Pac-12 males’s basketball event for a decade and has seen a number of All-Star video games in each the NHL and NBA performed there. It is also the annual house to the Grammy Awards (a lot to the frustration of its sports activities tenants, who’re compelled to go on prolonged highway journeys each January). Over its 22 years of use, Staples Heart has turn out to be one of the vital iconic arenas in all {of professional} sports activities.

And after Thursday night time, Staples Heart can be no extra.

The sport between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers would be the last occasion on the enviornment beneath the Staples Heart identify. The constructing will formally turn out to be Crypto.com Enviornment for the Lakers’ scheduled Christmas Day recreation in opposition to the Brooklyn Nets (8 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN and the ESPN app).

Earlier than the change turns into official, we requested our writers the world over of sports activities to recall a few of the greatest moments in Staples Heart historical past, and if this checklist is any indication, Crypto.com Enviornment has fairly the legacy to stay as much as.

NHL: ‘Frenzy on Figueroa’ and Cup accumulating

There are three moments that outline the Los Angeles Kings’ historical past at Staples Heart. Two of them resulted in Stanley Cup championships. The opposite is just referred to as the “Frenzy on Figueroa.”

On April 18, 2001, the Kings have been dealing with the Detroit Pink Wings within the convention quarterfinals. Detroit was a star-laden workforce that might win the Cup the next season. The Kings have been on the ropes: The Pink Wings had a 2-1 sequence lead and a 3-0 lead in Sport 4 at Staples. Then some magic began to occur. The Kings had gone 50 straight postseason energy performs with no aim till ahead Scott Thomas scored one at 13:53 of the third interval. Ahead Jozef Stumpel adopted with one other power-play aim lower than 4 minutes later. The gang practically blew the roof off the place when Bryan Smolinski tied the rating with 53 seconds left in regulation; the followers’ roar when rookie Eric Belanger scored at 2:36 into extra time continues to be ringing via the rafters.

What made the “Frenzy” much more frenetic was when the on-ice officers despatched the extra time aim for a video overview. “That was the longest 5 minutes of my life. The sensation we had when the aim was allowed was unbelievable,” Belanger informed the Kings’ web site. Los Angeles rode that momentum to a six-game sequence win, however checked out in opposition to the eventual champion Colorado Avalanche within the following spherical.

Kings senior VP of communications Mike Altieri has been with the workforce all through the Staples’ seasons, and sees it this fashion: “Should you wished the ‘first’ nice second, it could be the Frenzy. However if you’re in search of the ‘best second for the Kings at Staples,’ it could be our first Stanley Cup.”

The Kings gained the Stanley Cup twice at Staples. In 2014, they captured their second Cup in Sport 5 on a double-overtime aim by defenseman Alec Martinez, in a sequence in opposition to the New York Rangers that wasn’t all that a lot unsure. However their 2012 Stanley Cup win on house ice got here in Sport 6, with the New Jersey Devils having gained two video games in a row to ship the sequence again to Los Angeles.

The sport was performed on June 11, 2012, and it turned out to be a rout. Devils ahead Steve Bernier took an inexcusable boarding penalty within the first interval, and the Kings ended up scoring three power-play objectives throughout the ensuing five-minute main penalty, en path to a 6-1 win.

Your complete third interval was a celebration of inevitability. The gang at Staples stood, cheered and counted down the ultimate seconds of that recreation, a few of them having waited all 45 years of the franchise’s historical past to see the Kings raise the Cup. Making the victory even sweeter: The Kings have been the primary No. 8-seeded workforce to win the Stanley Cup and solely the second to even attain the Closing.

The Kings have been rebuilding for the previous 4 seasons and have amassed one of many NHL’s finest collections of prospects, able to make new recollections at Crypto.

— Greg Wyshynski

School hoops: Shockers shock Buckeyes

By defeating Ohio State 70-66 within the 2013 West Regional Closing, No. 9 seed Wichita State capped a long-shot Closing 4 run full of surprises. Only a week earlier, the Shockers had shocked top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Gonzaga by draining 14 3-pointers on the way in which to a six-point victory. A straightforward win in opposition to No. 13 seed La Salle then introduced Gregg Marshall’s workforce nose to nose with the No. 2-seeded Buckeyes. Thad Matta’s workforce was aiming for its second consecutive Closing 4 and had gained 11 straight video games.

For many of the contest it appeared that Wichita State would add to its run of surprises by toppling OSU with ease. The Buckeyes scored simply 22 factors within the first half and trailed by 20 with 11 minutes remaining. However Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross erupted for 15 factors within the second half, and by the closing minutes the Shockers’ lead had been whittled down to only three.

All season lengthy, OSU had been powered by 6-foot-7 junior Deshaun Thomas, who was usually on the receiving finish of one other help delivered by Aaron Craft. Thomas did ring up 21 factors in opposition to Wichita State, however he missed all six of his 3-point makes an attempt whereas Craft went 2-of-12 from the ground.

Ohio State was additionally stymied within the paint, as WSU’s Carl Corridor recorded a season-high six blocks. Wichita State freshman Fred VanVleet was nonetheless coming off the bench at this level in his profession, however he scored 12 factors and transformed an important basket within the fortieth minute that bounced throughout the rim earlier than falling. VanVleet’s bucket, plus a key 3-pointer by Tekele Cotton, gave the Shockers simply sufficient cushion to publish the four-point victory.

Marshall famously informed his workforce to “play offended,” and Wichita State was offended sufficient and adequate to succeed in this system’s first Closing 4 in 48 years. The Shockers took eventual champion Louisville to the ultimate moments of the nationwide semifinal in Atlanta earlier than shedding by 4. The next season, WSU would earn a No. 1 seed and win its first 35 video games earlier than falling to No. 8 seed Kentucky within the spherical of 32.

— John Gasaway

Boxing: Mosley, De La Hoya stage a basic

Muhammad Ali. Denzel Washington. Jack Nicholson.

Seemingly all of Hollywood was out in full pressure for the inaugural boxing occasion at Staples Heart, the primary assembly between Oscar De La Hoya and “Sugar” Shane Mosley on June 17, 2000. The festivities contained in the ring someway exceeded the star energy outdoors the ropes.

Mosley narrowly outpointed De La Hoya in an exhilarating combat for the welterweight championship, handing “The Golden Boy” his second loss. The bout was named The Ring’s 2000 Occasion of the 12 months, and within the illustrious fistic historical past of Staples Heart, it is exhausting to seek out one other matchup that may prime the popularity of Mosley and De La Hoya.

However the downtown Los Angeles venue would create recollections extra significant within the annals of boxing historical past. Who can neglect the heavyweight championship basic between Vitali Klitschko, a late alternative, and Lennox Lewis on June 21, 2003? Klitschko was forward on the scorecards when the slugfest was halted following Spherical 6 as a consequence of a grotesque minimize over his left eye that required 60 stitches.

Lewis by no means fought once more, whereas Klitschko went on to win the heavyweight championship and loved a prolonged reign. Right this moment, they’re each within the Worldwide Boxing Corridor of Fame.

Staples Heart can also be the positioning of one of the vital notorious moments in boxing historical past. Antonio Margarito was coming off a career-best victory, a welterweight title win over Miguel Cotto, when he signed to combat Mosley. Whereas his fingers have been being wrapped in a Staples Heart dressing room, a plaster-like substance was found in one of many pads being inserted.

The controversy performed out on HBO, and Margarito was compelled to have his fingers rewrapped. When he entered the ring, he was a 4-1 favourite over the 37-year-old Mosley, who was coming off a lackluster efficiency. In a surprising upset, Mosley did not simply defeat Margarito; he destroyed him. The end got here in Spherical 9 when a barrage of punches compelled the referee to avoid wasting Margarito from additional punishment following a knockdown. The most important crowd in Staples Heart historical past for any occasion, an viewers of 20,820, witnessed the beatdown.

Afterward, Margarito was suspended for one 12 months and had his license revoked by the California State Athletic Fee.

Staples Heart was additionally house to the epic heavyweight title tilt between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder on December 1, 2018, a bout that produced one of the vital indelible moments within the glamour division’s historical past.

Fury, on the comeback path after gaining 40 kilos, outboxed Wilder for almost all of the bout, however was floored in Spherical 9. With the combat seemingly in hand, Fury was dropped once more within the last spherical, and this time, he was badly damage. Wilder’s patented overhand proper adopted by a left hook that met its mark, whereas Fury was already falling to the canvas, appeared to finish the bout.

However just like the WWE’s Undertaker, Fury bounced up after laying immobile on the mat for seconds, and even buckled Wilder earlier than the combat was over. The bout was dominated a controversial draw, the primary assembly of their epic trilogy that lastly concluded this previous October with two Fury wins.

The sector wasn’t completed producing unbelievable boxing moments. Errol Spence Jr., in one other welterweight basic, scored a Tenth-round knockdown en path to a call victory over Shawn Porter in a 2019 Struggle of the 12 months candidate.

And eventually, on Dec. 5, Gervonta “Tank” Davis, the protégé of Floyd Mayweather, struggled in a victory over long-odds underdog Isaac Cruz. Similar to when De La Hoya and Mosley opened Staples Heart’s doorways to boxing followers, the celebrities have been out in full pressure as soon as extra.

— Mike Coppinger

NBA: Clippers lastly style playoff success

With an injured Kawhi Leonard watching, the Clippers trailed by as many as 25 factors within the opening seconds of the third quarter of Sport 6 of the second spherical in opposition to the Utah Jazz final postseason, and one other chapter of Clippers’ postseason failure gave the impression to be unfolding. The Clippers have been largely on the fallacious facet of historical past and have been now looking at a Sport 7 in Utah.

However on this second, the Clippers turned one other potential playoff calamity into not solely their greatest second at Staples Heart but in addition the best second within the franchise’s existence.

Behind an unlikely 39-point explosion from Terance Mann, who was beginning instead of Leonard, the Clippers accomplished the biggest halftime comeback in a series-clinching win in NBA historical past and punched their ticket to the Western Convention finals for the primary time in 51 years with a 131-119 come-from-behind win. The Clippers have been beforehand 0-8 all-time with an opportunity to clinch a convention finals look and have been solely 9 months faraway from blowing a 3-1 lead and struggling an embarrassing meltdown and loss to the Denver Nuggets within the second spherical within the bubble in Orlando, Florida.

The ambiance at Sport 6 in opposition to Utah was electrical. It was the primary sellout at Staples Heart in additional than a 12 months because of the pandemic and COVID restrictions on followers being allowed within the constructing that season. That night time, followers witnessed an all-time underdog efficiency from Mann, the forty eighth total decide within the 2019 draft. Mann was a nightmare matchup for the Jazz and Rudy Gobert when the Clippers went small and the versatile swingman buried seven 3-pointers. The gang exploded with every 3-point make as Mann unexpectedly went toe-to-toe with Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who hit 9 3-pointers and had 39 factors, 9 assists and 9 rebounds on a foul ankle.

“This was my first time experiencing a crowd like this,” mentioned Paul George, who grew up in Palmdale, a suburb simply outdoors Los Angeles. “It was only a particular night time. You felt it, the cheers, the joy. You felt the monkey off of the Clippers’ again when it comes to getting out of the second spherical.”

George wished to be traded from Oklahoma Metropolis in 2019 to hitch Leonard, who grew up in close by Moreno Valley, for moments like these. He did his finest to not let one other alternative for the Clippers to maneuver to the Western Convention finals slip away. George practically had a triple-double with 28 factors, 9 rebounds and 7 assists to verify the Clippers clinched. As historical past was unfolding, Mann, Reggie Jackson and Patrick Beverley stood on the Staples flooring, urging the gang to cheer even louder.

“Simply seeing our followers and the way they stayed to the tip and the way they have been cheering, it simply felt good,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue mentioned. “The workforce has been ravenous for fulfillment, and the fan base has been doing the identical factor.”

— Ohm Youngmisuk

UFC: Cejudo beats the unbeatable foe

Henry Cejudo got here into his rematch with Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 as a greater than 3-to-1 underdog. Johnson had already crushed Cejudo as soon as, by first-round TKO. And Johnson was on the best championship run in UFC historical past — 11 straight flyweight title defenses, a file that also stands right now. However at Staples Heart on Aug. 4, 2018, Cejudo, the previous Olympic wrestling gold medalist born in Los Angeles, shocked Johnson and the MMA world with a cut up resolution victory to turn out to be the UFC flyweight champion. Johnson’s unprecedented streak had been snapped. Cejudo used his dominant wrestling to get Johnson down and preserve him there, one thing no different opponent had ever completed earlier than.

Cejudo went on to win the UFC bantamweight title a 12 months later, turning into simply the fourth fighter to carry titles in two UFC weight divisions concurrently. However his historic MMA run received began at Staples Heart, simply miles from the place Cejudo was born to Mexican immigrants.

There have been a number of different main UFC moments at Staples. At UFC 60 on Might 27, 2006, then-UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes beat Royce Gracie by first-round TKO in a passing-of-the-torch second. Gracie, the best UFC fighter of the early days, got here out of retirement to tackle Hughes, the very best of his technology close to Gracie’s weight class. Hughes’ emphatic victory at Staples signaled {that a} new, extra advanced period had begun in blended martial arts.

Ronda Rousey, the pioneer who vaulted ladies’s MMA into the highlight, isn’t any stranger to ushering in new eras, and one in every of her most unbelievable victories passed off at Staples Heart, at UFC 184 on Feb. 28, 2015. Rousey defeated Cat Zingano to defend the UFC ladies’s bantamweight title by way of submission in simply 14 seconds. On the time, it was the quickest win ever in a UFC title combat. Zingano ran proper at Rousey as quickly because the bell rang. Rousey reversed her assault, the 2 fell to the ground and someway Rousey pulled off her vaunted armbar from an inconceivable place. Rousey, a longtime Los Angeles resident, was undefeated in MMA till later that 12 months, when she was knocked out by Holly Holm, who coincidentally made her UFC debut at UFC 184 with Rousey vs. Zingano as the primary occasion.

— Marc Raimondi

WNBA: Teasley sparks LA’s second straight title

It was on the peak of one of many WNBA’s early rivalries. A coastal showdown within the 2002 WNBA Finals that had all the pieces from future Corridor of Fame gamers to a rookie prepared for her massive second.

The Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty had met within the inaugural WNBA recreation in 1997 on the Nice Western Discussion board. By 2002, the Sparks’ house was Staples Heart, they usually have been there taking part in for his or her second consecutive WNBA title on Saturday, Aug. 31.

The Sparks entered Sport 2 of their best-of-three WNBA Finals sequence main the Liberty 1-0, having gained the opener at Madison Sq. Backyard. At age 30, Sparks heart Lisa Leslie was nonetheless on the peak of her profession, having been the WNBA’s MVP the earlier season.

This was the Liberty’s fourth time taking part in for the WNBA title within the league’s first six years, and their core of Teresa Weatherspoon, Sue Wicks, Tari Phillips and Vickie Johnson have been all aged 30 or over. There was a way that their window was closing.

The Sparks led by seven at halftime, however the Liberty have been determined to pressure a 3rd recreation. They’d come again to tie the rating at 66 when Sparks rookie level guard Nikki Teasley launched a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left.

Teasley was the No. 5 choice out of North Carolina within the 2002 WNBA draft by the short-lived Portland Fireplace, however was traded on draft day to the Sparks. She was an instantaneous starter for the defending champions, averaging 6.4 factors and 4.4 assists within the common season. Teasley was second on the workforce with 40 3-pointers, and shot 40% from behind the arc — which explains the boldness she needed to put up the potential championship-winning shot.

It swished, and the Sparks celebrated with the gang at Staples Heart. It was extra of a historic second than even they knew: Practically twenty years later, no different WNBA workforce for the reason that Sparks have gained back-to-back titles.

Leslie performed 40 minutes in Sport 2, getting 17 factors and 7 rebounds, and was named WNBA Finals MVP for the second time. The Sparks would win a 3rd title 14 years in a while one other shot within the closing seconds, this one by Nneka Ogwumike. That got here on the Minnesota Lynx’s Goal Heart in 2016.

However Teasley’s shot stays the best second for the Sparks at Staples.

— Mechelle Voepel

WWE: Lesnar returns to SummerSlam

​​Brock Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012 after a run as UFC heavyweight champion. In his second match again, he took on Triple H at SummerSlam on Aug. 19 of that 12 months at Staples. It was a dream match on the time — the 2 legendary wrestlers had by no means confronted off in a singles match on tv or pay-per-view prior. The scripted storyline across the bout was that Lesnar had damaged Triple H’s arm with a Kimura submission, a transfer usually utilized in MMA, which Lesnar had simply come again from. Triple H tried to get revenge at SummerSlam, however after a grueling match, Lesnar prevailed — by breaking Triple H’s arm once more with the Kimura.

Lesnar was not the one former UFC champion to have a significant WWE second at Staples. Ronda Rousey was in the course of her run as WWE Uncooked ladies’s champion when she took on Charlotte Aptitude, daughter of Ric Aptitude, at Survivor Collection on Nov. 18, 2018. It was a brutal, bodily match that Rousey gained by way of disqualification when Aptitude blasted her again and again with a Kendo stick. Rousey’s face was bloody, and he or she sported some nasty bruises close to her proper ear on account of the assault. However Aptitude’s conduct had an odd impact on the LA crowd. Regardless of Rousey being the hometown lady, the followers booed her and cheered Aptitude’s violent onslaught. It led to WWE altering its future plans and placing Rousey, Aptitude and Becky Lynch in a triple risk match the next 12 months at WrestleMania — the first-ever WrestleMania ladies’s fundamental occasion.

It would not have as a lot notoriety as their well-known match a month earlier than in Chicago, however CM Punk vs. John Cena at SummerSlam on Aug. 14, 2011, at Staples Heart was a key cog in WWE’s “Summer time of Punk” storyline. Punk gained the undisputed WWE title match with Triple H as referee, solely to get attacked by a returning Kevin Nash. Alberto Del Rio then swooped in, cashed in his Cash within the Financial institution title shot contract and beat Punk to win the belt.

WrestleMania 21 was the one ‘Mania ever at Staples Heart and it featured Batista beating Triple H to win the WWE world heavyweight champion, the primary massive title gained by Batista in professional wrestling. Batista, after all, would go on to additional success in Hollywood, in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and past.

— Raimondi

NBA: One final ring for Kobe

If a screenwriter got here up with the scene, it could have been minimize from the ultimate manufacturing for being too excessive.

There Kobe Bryant was, having simply defeated the Los Angeles Lakers’ bitter rival Boston Celtics in Sport 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. The Lakers star stood on the scorer’s desk, championship hat cocked to the facet, confetti falling round him, as he unfold his arms in triumph as if he have been a Roman gladiator.

The Lakers’ final second at Staples Heart was the results of an unpleasant recreation, however that did not boring the celebration.

For Bryant, it was redemption on a number of ranges. First, it was night the rating with the Celtics after Boston beat him and the Lakers by 39 factors in Sport 6 of the 2008 Finals to take the title.

And it was proof that Lakers proprietor Dr. Jerry Buss was proper in selecting Bryant over Shaquille O’Neal when he cut up up the duo in 2004, sending “The Most Dominant Ever” to Miami, the place he promptly gained one other championship, his fourth.

The win over the Celtics was Bryant’s fifth, a truth he reveled in.

“It means I received another than Shaq,” he mentioned, his complete face turning right into a smile throughout the postgame information convention.

The field rating hasn’t aged effectively. The Lakers gained 83-79, with Bryant capturing an anemic 6-for-24. However he did seize 15 rebounds and was part of the play of the sport — discovering Ron Artest with an help on the proper wing for a 3-pointer that pushed L.A.’s lead from three to 6 with precisely one minute remaining.

Shoddy capturing proportion be damned, when requested to replicate on the victory after exit interviews with basic supervisor Mitch Kupchak within the days that adopted the championship, Bryant selected one phrase to sum it up: “Epic.”

It is solely gotten extra epic over time, because it was the final Lakers championship for each Bryant and Dr. Buss. The longtime Lakers proprietor died lower than three years later due to kidney failure, following a bout with most cancers. Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 others perished in a tragic helicopter crash lower than 10 years later.

For the child who had his grandparents mail him VHS tapes of outdated Lakers-Celtics battles to observe whereas his dad performed professional ball in Italy, and the person who devoted his post-playing days to storytelling, that Sport 7 win was as storybook because it will get.

— Dave McMenamin

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