Despite COVID-19 rules, a growing crowd filled an intersection just outside Staples Center Sunday evening to celebrate the Lakers’ first NBA championship in a decade.
Upon beating the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the Finals, fans descended upon the area outside Staples Center around 7:30 p.m. L.A. Live was barricaded off on Friday to prevent large crowds from gathering and violating pandemic orders.
The title comes in the same year the team lost its icon, Kobe Bryant. The lifelong player led the Lakers to five championships including 2010, the last title the team won.
Urging Angelenos to celebrate from their homes to curb the spread of the coronavirus, Los Angeles County health officials suggested virtual watch parties, displaying team flags and wearing Laker gear.
Before Game 5 Friday, Mayor Eric Garcetti held a brief press conference to urge Angelenos to celebrate a potential victory from home.
“We’re gonna have to celebrate where we are,” Garcetti said. “I’m asking Angelenos to make sure all the progress we have made in our fight against COVID-19 isn’t reversed frmo one night of celebration.”
“I encourage you to yell at the top of your lungs inside your homes, maybe even open up the window or step outside your door as we’ve done for our first responders and essential medical workers to thank them,” the mayor said. “Let’s thank the Lakers when they win, but let’s do it safe.”