LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers Win 2020 NBA Finals Nearly 9 Months After Kobe Bryant's Death
It was a fitting end to a season like none other before it for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
Led by performances from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers were crowned the 2020 NBA champions after defeating the Miami Heat at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Lakers won in a 106-93 victory over Miami in Game 6 of their best of seven series.
Following the Jan. 26 accident, the Lakers have continually found ways to pay tribute to Bryant and his daughter. Once the playoffs began in July, the team brought back their "Black Mamba" uniforms for the first time since the 2017-2018 season, with the addition of a No. 2 patch in memory of Gianna, who wore the number while playing at the Mamba Sports Academy.
The uniforms were designed by Bryant — who won five championships during his 20 years with the franchise — following his retirement from the NBA in 2016. The Lakers had a 4-1 record this postseason when playing in the Black Mamba uniforms, their only loss coming in Game 5 of the Finals.
James now has four NBA titles to his name with this latest victory, bringing him into a tie with other greats such as Shaquille O'Neal and Robert Parish. This is the 17th title for the Lakers franchise, dating back to their first championship in 1949 when the club was based in Minneapolis. They are now in a tie with their longtime rivals, the Boston Celtics, for the most NBA championships in league history.
While the Lakers win is symbolic on many levels, it also brings an end to a painful championship losing streak for the city's sports teams. The Los Angeles Dodgers lost back to back World Series in 2017 and 2018, and the Los Angeles Rams scored only three points in their loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots during the 2019 Super Bowl.
The Dodgers are currently favorites to reach the 2020 World Series, set to begin later this month. If they are victorious, Los Angeles will have achieved the rare feat of earning two major professional sports championships in a matter of weeks.
RELATED VIDEO: Remembering Kobe Bryant
With the Finals' conclusion, the NBA's experiment in Orlando — known as the "bubble" — is also coming to an end.
Everyone from players, coaches, and staff have lived inside the quarantined area at Walt Disney World Resort to continue the season after games were placed on hiatus at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March. The plan has been a success, as the league has not had a single coronavirus case inside of the bubble throughout the duration of the playoffs.
It remains unlikely the Lakers will be able to hold a championship parade anytime in the immediate future, as Los Angeles still has a ban on large gatherings outside of religious ceremonies and political protests.