Crazed fans of the LA Lakers have descended on the team’s home court, the Staples Centre, to celebrate the team winning the 2020 NBA Finals despite the city remaining at the mercy of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of fans were seen gathering around the stadium and on the streets of Los Angeles after the Lakers took game six of the NBA Finals to claim a 4-2 series victory over the Miami Heat.
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The victory, propelled by a triple-double from Finals MVP LeBron James, brought the Lakers equal for the most NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, with both teams boasting 17 championships.
While the hard-fought championship, won in the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida in order to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 among players and staff, was absolutely worth celebrating, many questioned the wisdom of having thousands of fans on the streets.
Footage circulating on social media in the wake of the Lakers’ win appeared to show large crowds mingling outside the Staples Centre and elsewhere in Los Angeles, largely without any form of social distancing or regard for guidelines aimed at minimising the spread of the virus.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti had earlier implored citizens to avoid gathering in large numbers to celebrate the championship.
“As we cheer our Lakers’ 17th championship, please remember it’s still not safe to gather in groups,” Garcetti tweeted.
“Let’s honour our city’s triumph by protecting others and making sure we don’t spread the virus. Please celebrate safely at home. Do not gather at Staples Center. Thank you!”
Los Angeles takes to the streets to celebrate a Lakers Championship pic.twitter.com/hx2NWRKj5i— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) October 12, 2020
Covid won the NBA title— Lachlan Everett (@LachieEverett) October 12, 2020
Ooof this is not good. At least I see a fair amount of masks, but yeah, definitely shouldn’t have done this.— stephanie (@seleonard310) October 12, 2020
LA Lakers win NBA Finals over Miami Heat
This season, for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, had it all. And it ended in the only fashion that they deemed would be acceptable, with them back atop the basketball world.
For the first time since Kobe Bryant's fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games.
"Our organisation wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect," James said.
"And I want my damn respect, too."
Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who dealt with the enormous anguish that followed the death of the iconic Bryant in January and all the challenges that came with leaving home for three months to play at Walt Disney World in a bubble designed to keep inhabitants safe from coronavirus.
And Davis, as white and gold confetti coated the floor around him, spent his first moments as a NBA champion thinking of Bryant.
"All we wanted to do was do it for him," Davis said.
"And we didn't let him down ... I know he's looking down on us, proud of us."
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