The NBA Bubble might’ve been one of the safest places on Earth for the last three months and last night, it turned into a sea of emotions. Unless you’re legitimately from a different planet, you know that Lakers great Kobe Bryant passed away earlier this year and that it left his family, the city of Los Angeles, the Lakers organization, LeBron James and basketball fans across the globe absolutely devastated. Last night, the Lakers made Kobe proud and brought home the chip.
Defeating the Miami Heat in a six game series, the Los Angeles Lakers’ 17th championship in franchise history not only ties the Boston Celtics for the most all-time, but it puts the icing on the cake for King James as one of the greatest of all-time (if not the greatest). In his 17th season, LBJ wins his 4th ring and the 2020 Finals MVP is the first player to ever win that honor with three teams (previously Miami and Cleveland) and he’s only the third player to ever win championships with three teams (Danny Green also joined him as the fourth player last night).
LBJ also broke other records as he posted a triple-double in the runaway victory – he has the most in Finals history with 10, and the second most in the playoffs with 28 (2 behind Magic Johnson). King James also broke Derek Fisher’s record for most playoff games played with his 260th game last night (that’s the equivalent of over three regular NBA seasons!)
Aside from Anthony Davis, who I’m super excited might help bring back-to-back titles to LA with LBJ next year as an iconic Lakers dynamic duo, the King really had to carry and lead a bunch of misfits – all of whom had their level of play elevated because of the greatness surrounding them. So big ups to him for grooming and growing those players like Kobe did before him and for management for bringing in the right pieces and the coaching staff for believing in the process and making the right decisions at the right time – like starting Alex Caruso over Dwight Howard and moving AD to center.
But the most impressive thing about this championship run was the message that LeBron sent as a leader, the team sent for the city of Los Angeles and the league sent for a country that feels so divided now – we all have the power to love one another, to do better for one another and to uplift one another. We need to win against racial injustice and violence. We all need to vote. That would’ve been something Kobe definitely would’ve been the most proud of, the job on the court is done for now, but the job off it, still isn’t finished. Congratulations Lakers Nation, take a moment to celebrate for now, but get back to work ASAP.
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Photos via LA Lakers/Douglas P. DeFelice