The Los Angeles Lakers delivered their first NBA championship in a decade after beating the Miami Heat in six games, tying the Boston Celtics with 17 titles - the most in NBA history.
TAKEAWAYS: LeBron and Davis power Lakers to Game 6 win
As the purple and gold confetti fell and the champagne flowed following their 106-93 win, several Lakers players paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, dedicating the victory to the late Laker legend.
We love you! pic.twitter.com/V9sSxzogtz— Quinn Cook (@QCook323) October 12, 2020
“Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do is do it for him, and we didn’t let him down,” Anthony Davis said post-game.
“It would have been great to do it last game in his jerseys, but it made us come down even more aggressive, even more powerful on both ends of the floor, to make sure we close it down tonight. I know he’s looking down on us proud of us. I know Vanessa [Bryant is] proud of us, the organization’s proud of us. It means a lot to us.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“He was a big brother to all of us. We did this for him.”— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 12, 2020
AD on winning the championship for Kobe #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/mrMt3gDm8Y
The Lakers have honoured Bryant and Gigi throughout the season, emblazoning their jerseys with patches and rocking the 'Black Mamba' edition jerseys - which Bryant himself helped design.
Bryant's memory has been a motivating force for the Lakers this season, with LeBron James explaining how his tragic passing helped galvanize the team during the season.
"If we weren't already as close as we thought we can be, that made us even closer...that brought us even closer," LeBron said.
"Our ball club we got as close as you possibly can be when that moment happened and obviously we know it brought the whole basketball world close as well, but when you're internal and it hits home, it just means that much more and we locked in from that very moment, saying 'this is bigger than us, this is bigger than us.'"
“That brought us even closer.”— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 12, 2020
LeBron on the Lakers winning the championship for Kobe #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/d7jfgzzxEn
Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka, who also served as Bryant's agent during his playing career, echoed those sentiments following the win.
"There would be times in my hotel room here, when you're in a bubble for a hundred days, it's tough," Pelinka said.
"There would be times in the middle of the night, I would hear his voice: 'Stay the course. Finish the task.' To be able to have a friend who changed my life, and helped me understand what greatness was about and sacrifice was about, there's not many greater gifts. To be able to share this moment right now, knowing that he and Gianna are looking down from heaven, and I know he's a proud friend -- I know he is."
"Kobe and Gianna's legacy will last forever," Pelinka added. "It will impact lives around the world in positive ways, and this championship and this Lakers championship in 2020 is partly to build on that legacy and honor them, and for us to be able to do that, the moment couldn't be any more special to do that for them."
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