On Sunday, October 11, the Los Angeles Lakers won their first championship in 10 years, marking the first time the organization has brought home the coveted Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy since Kobe Bryant led the team to victory in 2010.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the team set out on a mission this season following the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Bryant at the top of the year: win a championship, for them.
After such an earth-shattering tragedy, 2020 was already off to an unlikely start for the entire NBA, and that was before the pandemic hit. In March, the entire 2019-2020 season was postponed when two players on the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. After months of isolation, no games, no practices, and no information on when the sport would resume, the NBA brought all of their players to Orlando, Florida to finish off the season in a bubble.
The longest season in NBA history ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their first championship in a decade, closing out the months of promise from LeBron, AD, and the entire association that they would make Kobe and his entire family proud--and they did just that.
Vanessa Bryant was one of the first people to congratulate the team on Sunday night, posting an old photo of Kobe alongside Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka on her Instagram Story.
“Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @Lakers Kobe was right RP ‘stay the course- block out the noise’ - @kobebryant.” She added, “Wish Kobe and Gianna were here to see this. She went on to post a picture congratulating the whole team and tagging LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
Kobe Bryant is a huge figure in the organization as he played for the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire 20-year career, wearing jersey numbers 8 and 24. He made his debut with the team in 1996 after being drafted straight out of high school.
After Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers announced that they would wear their Black Mamba uniforms — which were designed by Kobe after his retirement from the NBA in 2016 — for Game 5. They previously wore the jerseys for every Game 2 of the playoffs, honoring GiGi Bryant, who wore number 2 on her jersey.
The team has been paying tribute to Kobe throughout the entire season. Earlier this week, James wore a shirt featuring a picture of Kobe with the words, “More than ever with love, 1978-2020.”
Los Angeles beat the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the NBA finals.