No matter how many times the Los Angeles Lakers proved to be an elite team, many still favored other teams to win the NBA championship. The reasoning was that they didn’t have enough surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Clippers were the talk of the NBA ever since their big offseason. As the season went on, they just kept accumulating more solid role players, and the idea that they were the better team in Los Angeles just got stronger and stronger.
Well, that turned out to not be true as they couldn’t even make it to the Western Conference Finals while the Lakers are headed back to Los Angeles with the Larry O’Brien trophy in hand. All season long, the purple and gold were solely focused on winning a title and that’s a big reason why they won. One member of the team threw some serious shade after the Finals win.
“While some of our so-called rivals spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars trying to win media cycles, we kept our heads down and focused on basketball – because the only thing we’ve ever cared about winning is championships,” a senior Lakers executive said, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
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While he didn’t name the Clippers, that’s a pretty obvious shot at them. It could also seen as a little bit of a dig at the Houston Rockets. The truth is, the Lakers and Clippers have never actually been rivals. The Lakers have won 17 NBA championships while the Clippers have never even made it to the Conference Finals.
Jeanie Buss Sends Message to Laker Fans
Unfortunately, for the Laker faithful, they weren’t there to celebrate with the team due to the unique circumstances surrounding the bubble. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss did send them a message after the win.
“I am so proud of you both on and off the court,” Buss said to the team. “You’ve done Los Angeles proud with your hard work, your professionalism and your dedication. You have written your own inspiring chapter in the great Laker history.
“To Laker Nation. We have been through a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe Bryant and Gianna. Let this trophy serve as a reminder of when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen.
“When it’s safe, I look forward to celebrating with you. Until then, I will bring back the trophy to Los Angeles, where it belongs.”
Rob Pelinka Reached out to Magic Johnson After Win
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has been the target of much criticism since he took over the job. Even after he made the trade for Anthony Davis, many questioned the roster he built around the two superstars and not everybody loved the decision to hire Frank Vogel as head coach.
Things got really bad last season as Vice President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson stepped down before the season ended. He then threw Pelinka under the bus. However, there doesn’t appear to be any animosity between the two men as Pelinka reached out to Magic after the championship win.
“I still have such gratitude for the two seasons I got to work with Earvin,” Pelinka said, via ESPN. “And he’s definitely a part of tonight with his vision and working side by side. He’s an unbelievable person, and we have a great, incredibly strong relationship. He was one of the first calls tonight. Had a great talk with him.
“But I think what I have learned in life is the hard times or the trials is when you grow, and you turn to your faith, you turn to your family, your loved ones, and more than anything else, I think the lesson that all of us on the inside know is you’ve got to just be about the work.”
Johnson sent a message to Pelinka on Twitter after the call.
For the first time in a long time, the Lakers are finally looking like a harmonious organization. Winning really does help heal old wounds.