The Los Angeles Lakers clinched their 17th title, in a 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat in game 6 of the historic 2020 NBA finals on Sunday night.
Immediately after the game came the revelry as Laker fans took to the streets of Los Angeles to celebrate the first championship in a decade.
The win marks the fourth championship with three franchises for Lebron James and the Lakers now tie the Boston Celtics for the most all-time in NBA history.
James, who won his fourth Finals MVP, led the Lakers with a triple double-28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists while Anthony Davis had 19 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assists.
Upon receiving the Bill Russell MVP award, James said, “We just want our respect. Rob [ Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager] wants his respect. Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect. Our organization wants their respect. Lakers nation wants their respect. And I want my damn respect too.”
James’ comments were made in reference to the criticism he often receives from the media as well as for the criticism the Lakers organization received for hiring Vogel as coach and Rob Pelinka finishing in seventh for executive of the year.
Jeanie Buss, who became the first female owner to win a championship, was in attendance during the celebration and acceptance of the Larry O’Brien trophy. She said, “I look forward to celebrating with you. Until then, I will bring back the trophy to Los Angeles, where it belongs.”
Moreover, in true Laker fashion, fans gathered around Staples Center, down Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles and lit the sky with fireworks to celebrate the NBA finals win despite COVID-19 warnings.
That is, cars did doughnuts in intersections throughout the downtown area, people were throwing glass and rocks at law enforcement and attacking them, cars were jammed in traffic as people cheered and honked their horns in celebration, giant Laker flags were waved through the streets, smoke bombs were set off, people climbed up street lights and even vandalized property and vehicles.
Police were also forced to close freeway exits and block entrances to Staples Center and L.A. Live and ultimately arrested 76 people due to the violent and destructive celebrations.
Long-time Lakers fan Liz Ruiz was extremely happy about the win. “It’s been a long time since we won a championship, but it’s bittersweet because Kobe isn’t here,” she said.
As historic as the season and championship was, it was also filled with a lot of emotions due to the tragic passing of Laker legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant.
Throughout their entire time in the bubble, the Lakers made sure to honor Bryant’s memory by ending their huddles with “1-2-3 Mamba!” and wearing special Black Mamba uniforms in the playoffs. The team went 4-1 during the five times the jerseys were worn in the postseason.
“I know he’s [Bryant] looking down on us super proud. Before the tragedy, he’d come to the games and tell us this is our year, go out there and take it,” Davis said, “he had a lot of confidence in our team and organization to go out there and win it this year. We miss him and this is definitely for him.”