The Los Angeles Lakers are NBA champions, but the raucous parade that usually follows a team hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy will have to wait.
The Lakers announced on Monday evening that they will not be holding a public celebration in the immediate future due to COVID-19 concerns. Parades usually welcome tens of thousands and aren’t exactly the most social-distance friendly events.
“We cannot wait to celebrate our NBA title with our fans,” the Lakers wrote on their Twitter account. “After consulting with the City and the County, we all agree that a joyful and inclusive public celebration will take place as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, thank you again, Lakers Nation, for your support!”
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Some people were not so thrilled with the Lakers winning the title, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who shared quite the take on his Twitter account.
“Wow the lakers won the NBA championship? How about a big parade in Communist China, Beijing. That’s where it belongs,” Giuliani wrote.
Celebrations Turn Ugly in Los Angeles
Laker fans took to the streets in Los Angeles to celebrate the franchise’s 17th title on Sunday, despite being urged by the team not to. According to Los Angeles police, 76 people were arrested and more than 30 buildings and businesses were damaged.
“L.A. is thrilled the Lakers won their 17th championship,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote on Twitter. “We’re grateful to everyone who has celebrated safely at home,” Remember that gathering in big groups is still unsafe. Vandalism of businesses and public places, and causing harm to our officers will not be tolerated.”
Lakers Let Champagne Flow During Bubble Celebration
Despite having no fans in the stands, the Lakers had a classic championship celebration inside the bubble in Orlando. J.R. Smith was shirtless, Anthony Davis cried and LeBron James demanded goggles so he could take part in the champagne showers.
“For me to be a part of such a historical franchise is an unbelievable feeling, not only for myself but for my teammates, for the organization, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that’s here,” James said on the court after the win. “We just want our respect. (Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager) Rob (Pelinka) wants his respect. (Lakers head) coach (Frank) Vogel wants his respect. Our organization wants their respect. Laker nation wants their respect. And I want my damn respect, too.”
Davis, who was traded to the Lakers in the offseason to combine forces with James, was emotional as the final second ticked off the clock. Thanks to the blowout nature of the game, he had time to stew on what had just happened.
“There was like 25 seconds left. Actually, when I came out of the game, I just started feeling it. About 25 seconds left, that feeling just turned into reality. I was 25 seconds from becoming a champion. I got emotional. It’s the type of journey that I’ve been on, my team has been on, the organization has been on — it all came just full circle with this championship. So I just got real emotional.
“LeBron was bothering me, saying, ‘You’re soft. Oh, you crybaby.’ I walked to the back, and there was a banner trophy. I kind of grabbed it. Then we walked back out to the court. It was an unbelievable feeling, and just an emotional moment for me.”
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