The Los Angeles Lakers ended the franchise’s decade-long drought of an NBA championship title with a 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat Sunday evening (Monday morning, Manila time).
The team dedicated their NBA season to Lakers and NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gigi on Jan. 26 early this year.
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“All we want to do is do it (championship) for him. We didn’t let him down. It would’ve been great to do it with the last game with his jerseys but it made us come out even more aggressive, even more powerful on both games on the floor and we made sure we close it out tonight,” said an emotional Anthony Davis in an post-game interview.
On Game 5, the Lakers wore their Kobe Bryant-inspired Black Mamba jerseys to honor Bryant. The team has been reportedly wearing a patch with his “KB” initials on their jerseys since his death.
“I know he is looking down on us, and (he is) proud of us. I know Vanessa’s (Bryant) proud of us, the organization’s proud of us. It means a lot to us. It’s a tough moment for us. He was a big brother to all of us. We did this for him,” Davis added.
The Lakers dominated the Finals’ Game 6 held at the AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida from start to finish, as they left the Heat trailing behind all four quarters.
The franchise’s victory has secured the Lakers’ 17th NBA title, which ties them with the Boston Celtics for the most championships in NBA history.
Meanwhile, with his 2019-2020 Finals MVP win, LeBron James becomes the first player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three different franchises (two with Miami Heat, one with the Cleveland Cavaliers and one with the LA Lakers). He also joins Michael Jordan as the only players in NBA history to win four Finals MVPs and four regular season MVPs.
“I told Jeanie (Marie Buss) when I came here that I was going to put the franchise back in the position where it belongs,” James said of Jeanie Marie Buss, the president of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise, in a post-game interview.
“For me to be a part of such historical franchise is an unbelievable feeling not only for myself but for my teammates, for my organization, for the coaches, for trainers, for everybody that’s here,” said James.
He added, “We want respect… and I want my damn respect, too.”
Banner images from Los Angeles Lakers Facebook page