On a practical level, nothing is changing: A building named after an office supply store will now be named after a cryptocurrency company. Inside that building, the same players will perform beneath the same banners and retired jerseys, the same fans will come to the same downtown location, and the same beer will remain expensive.
But there’s something nostalgic lost with Staples Center — home to the Los Angeles Lakers and five of their titles, the building that Kobe and Shaq “built” — becoming the Crypto.com Arena starting Christmas Day.
The Lakers put together this tribute to Staples.
The Lakers made this tribute video ahead of their last game in Staples Center 💜
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 24, 2021
Other famed events have happened at Staples Center: Lisa Leslie and the Sparks winning a WNBA titles, the NHL’s Kings beating the Devils in 2012 then the Rangers in double-OT in 2014 to take home two Stanley Cups, Lob City and the best eras of Clippers basketball, WWE’s Wrestlemania, a Democratic National Convention, and there were concerts from Bruce Springsteen opening the building though Garth Brooks, U2, Taylor Swift and more.
But this has always been the Lakers’ home, first and foremost. The Lakers never owned the building — it was built and remains operated by AEG, the owners of the NHL’s Kings (and other sports entities) — but it would not have been possible without the draw of Shaq and Kobe. Staples Center was home to the Lakers’ first playoff run of that era — including the legendary 15-point comeback in Game 7 against Portland that included the Kobe lob to Shaq — and a three-peat, plus later two titles with Kobe and Pau Gasol. This was where Kobe scored 81 against the Raptors and 60 in his “Mamba out” last game. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
The building, the memories are not going anywhere; they will just have a new name for the arena. But it does make one just a little sentimental, and it has been a fun trip down memory lane.