On Sunday, Oct. 11, the Los Angeles Lakers broke a 10-year dry spell by winning the NBA Finals with a 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 6, capping a season of honoring the late Kobe Bryant. Lakers superstar LeBron James rose to the occasion with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists Sunday night and was named MVP of the Finals.
Last night’s win marked the 17th NBA championship for the West Coast franchise, tying them with the Boston Celtics for the most titles. Sunday’s victory also saw the Lakers win their first championship since the Kobe era.
The last time the Lakers won the title the 31-year-old Kobe walked away with the Finals MVP trophy after his team defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games. After three subsequent years of suffering season-ending injuries, on April 13, 2016, Kobe retired from the game.
The Lakers dedicated their triumph to the late star who, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, tragically passed away on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in suburban L.A.
“Kobe, I know he’s looking down on us super proud,” Lakers forward Anthony Davis said after Sunday’s game. “We miss him, and this is definitely for him.”
Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, congratulated the team on their job well done on her Instagram Story with a photo of Kobe and his former agent Rob Pelinka who is now the Lakers general manager. Rob was godfather to Vanessa and Kobe’s daughter Gigi. Vanessa’s caption implied that Kobe had predicted the Lakers would eventually take home the championship even after his retirement.
“Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @lakers Kobe was right, R.P.! ‘Stay the course – blockout the noise,'” she wrote. “@kobebryant Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this.”
Other celebrities celebrated the historic victory, including superstar Rihanna. The singer shared a video on Instagram of herself and friends dressed up in Lakers gear singing along to Queen’s hit record “We Are the Champions.” “if you ain’t on this time right now…bye,” Rihanna captioned the clip. She added, “Lebron remains king 💪🏿 Lakers are the champs 💜💛 , and Kobe is proud 🙏🏿 A.D. thank you! #🏆 #Congratulations.”
Former President Barack Obama also shared a congratulatory post on Twitter. “Congrats to the @Lakers and @Seattlestorm on their championship wins! Proud of all the NBA and WNBA teams and players who’ve been using their platforms to take a stand for racial justice and encourage civic participation this season,” he tweeted.