For the 17th time, the Los Angeles Lakers became the best team in the NBA. The last time this happened was 10 years ago. And how symbolic is that it is the guys from the Lakers who get the championship rings in 2020.
Symbolically and certainly sad. Even those who did not feel much love for the Lakers and their main star, on January 26 were in shock. Just 41 years old, a loving father, and simply one of the greatest basketball players of all time died in a helicopter crash…alongside his daughter.
I am convinced that the 2020 season could not have ended otherwise. The Lakers’ victory is not a natural thing. They weren’t the best during the regular season. Milwaukee with Toronto, the Clippers, and Boston confidently going.
But how nice it is that everything eventually happened as it happened.
Championship in 2010
Then, in 2009 and 2010, which became the golden year for the Lakers, Luke Walton averaged 1.1 points per playoff game. Only Bryant had played longer for the team at that time. And it would be symbolic to bring Walton to the Lakers championship 10 years later. But the small forward, who became a coach and managed the Lakers for almost 3 years, was fired from the team just before the 2019/20 season. Frank Vogel who deserves a lot of credit for the team’s championship made the Lakers a defensive monster.
But none of this would have happened without LeBron James. It was his arrival at the Lakers that allowed the Lakers to become a force to be reckoned with again. James, who is on a path to becoming the GOAT, has won his 4th ring. The transfer of James helped devastated Lakers to improve in terms of marketing as well. The gambling industry in the United States quickly noticed the changes he brought to the team and a free casino bonus on sports, in this regard, on basketball was offered to customers. James’ influence in the past decade is really inhuman on sports in the United States and he is not going to stop.
It was he who shouldered the burden that Kobe Bryant used to carry. It was he who managed to convince Anthony Davis to join the team. For the sake of the latter, LeBron was ready to give up his 23rd number.
And this couple, perfectly complementing each other and not allowing their ego to come to the fore, became the reincarnation of the duo Kobe Bryant – Shaquille O’Neal. Not on the playing roles on the floor. And on the contribution to the team’s success. The first two draft picks of 2003 and 2012, achieved what they wanted: one became the champion with the third team, the second did it for the first time in his career.
LeBron became only the third basketball player in history to win three different teams. After Robert Horry and John Salley. What unites all three? That’s right, the Lakers’ championship ring. Horry has three of them with the Lakers.
The series could have ended this time in the fifth match. Miami led most of the time, again holding on to Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson’s timely threes. And when it seemed that the Lakers were about to turn the tide, and in the middle of the third quarter the score was equalized, as again followed by the run from the Heat. Silly fouls of Rondo and Kyle Kuzma that allowed Jay Crowder and Robinson to score four points in one attack were completely out of logic.
The series went into the sixth match, in which such drama was no longer in action. From the very first minute, the Lakers seized an advantage that had grown to 36 by the middle of the third quarter! That’s incredible! The Heat missed, the Lakers took rebounds and got themselves. By the middle of the second quarter, Butler had only three points! Even the return of the injured Goran Dragic did not save the Heat. Only when the Lakers started playing weakly in defense, only then did Miami start to get something. It was too late.
LeBron became the NBA record holder for the number of playoff games – 260! He was ahead of another former LA player, Derek Fisher (259). There was no doubt who to give the MVP of the 2020 Finals. A minute and a half before the end Vogel removed from the game all the leaders, which allowed Dwight Howard to make a 3-pointer, for whom the championship ring was the first in his career! Davis did not believe his happiness and began to cry in advance. LeBron felt a whole mountain fall from his shoulders! He was able to spite the Haters!
This was indeed a deserved championship for the Lakers and especially for LeBron James. We do not know what happens in the next season – we will see a revitalized Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the team. Most probably some of the elite players will be traded into stronger teams. Antetokounmpo can end up with Steph Curry. But for the moment everything is clear and evident – the Los Angeles Lakers are champions. This is a really stunning moment in the team’s history. This is what Kobe Bryant wanted to see with his eyes.