The Los Angeles Lakers have finally reclaimed their dominance this past Sunday with their sweeping 106-93 defeat of the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. The Laker fan base has waited long and hard for this title, which marks this team’s 17th championship win after a long playoff drought beginning in 2013. In fact, the last time the Lakers held the championship title was 10 years ago, when beloved legend Kobe Bryant led the 2010 Lakers to victory against their long-time rival, the Boston Celtics.
This 17th title means so much to the franchise, players and fans alike for a few reasons. First, this was no easy feat for Finals MVP Lebron James, along with the rest of the Lakers. Following the suspension of the NBA season in March due to COVID-19, there was widespread confusion as to whether or not the season would continue. This was a massive disappointment for the LA fans whose hopes for a title were finally restored with the addition of all-star Anthony Davis to the Laker family. For many, sports games are major serotonin-boosters, and they offer an escape from the outside world; In 2020, fans needed this more than ever.
After almost 6 months, the NBA finally restarted the season on July 31st as the remaining 22 teams entered the “NBA Bubble” in Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort…. just when we had thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder. But with a duo like Disney and basketball, how could you go wrong? After months without practice, the Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals and secured their well earned victory in the Finals.
In a season full of uncertainty, there was one unifying factor that motivated and brought the team together: the duty to uphold Kobe Bryant’s legacy. After Kobe’s tragic death on January 26th, the Lakers were playing for a higher cause. Even after his retirement in 2016, Kobe remained an integral part of the Laker family, as he was always there to support and uplift the team. Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, took to Instagram Sunday night to congratulate the team. “Congrats @lakers Kobe was right… ‘Stay the course-blockout the noise.’ Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this.” (@vanessabryant). After the win, the team dedicated the win to their “big brother,” and they were able to rest assured knowing that they made him proud.
It was indeed an extremely happy night for Lakers fans everywhere. Celebrations spread far and wide, from the streets of Downtown LA to the living rooms of fans’ homes. For me, jumping up and down and screaming at my TV while watching the Finals was one of the only normal things about 2020. And this time, instead of screams of frustration, there were finally cheers of victory.
With another title under their belt, the Lakers can now kick back, reunite with their families and look back on a truly historic season. As for what’s next, Anthony Davis has agreed to remain with the Lakers. So… round 2?