The Lakers in pictures and words: The photography of Andrew Bernstein

As consumers of sports, we now have almost endless means to satisfy our Jones for live action. An ever-growing array of cable channels are bolstered by a seemingly infinite number of entry points on the web. If something happens on the field of play- major, minor, or somewhere in between- chances are high there's video to go with it.

But even with everything at our disposal, with so much access to live events and real people, ironically the best and most compelling stories sometimes get lost in the shuffle. Our eyes are follow the endless action, unable to fully process the significance of moments as they happen. People like us will later try to capture them in words. We'll talk to the participants, add our input, and do our best to tell a story.

Still, try as we might, what we do often isn't as immediate and powerful as a great photograph.

Something about an amazing still image conveys more than any amount of expert analysis, capturing the beauty of athletic performance, the core of a player's personality, the pain of failure and joy of success. Perhaps without even knowing, Lakers fans have enjoyed the incredible gift of having one of the world's great sports photographers focused on their team, preserving those split seconds in time we so often don't see.

Andrew (we call him Andy) Bernstein is the NBA's Senior Official Photographer, and has created what seems like every iconic league image since he started shooting for the Association in 1983. And since the Lakers have created more of those moments than any other franchise over that time, Bernstein's lens has captured those, too. (Anyone with access to this book will agree.)

We had the pleasure of collaborating with Andy to create the gallery of his images you can see here: Lakers in photos ยป

It contains some of his favorite pictures, many of which you'll likely recognize, and Bernstein tells some of the stories behind them. Meanwhile, there are shots of last season's title run accompanied by comments from the players who produced it. Kobe Bryant, a big fan of Bernstein's, adds additional thoughts on the great players who have influenced his game, from Jordan to Olajuwon.

The images aren't just moments on the floor, but also behind the scenes. Bernstein has been in places most fans (and even media) never get to see, and his photography pulls back the curtain. They get to the core of what we love about the Lakers and the NBA.

"It's personal. It's all personal moments, intimate moments that he collects," says Kobe of Bernstein. "He has a skill and a knack to do that other photographers don't have. Other photographers just take photos. He takes moments."