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10

Lakers victory parade 2010: Lakers crowned NBA kings again

NEWS
Lakers victory parade 2010: Lakers crowned NBA kings again

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The LA Lakers are the NBA Champions after taking out game seven of their finals series against the Boston Celtics 83-79 in Los Angeles.

It’s the Lakers’ fifth championship in 11 years and their second in as many seasons, with Kobe Bryant taking out the Finals MVP award in back-to-back seasons.

It was also sweet revenge for LA, who were beaten by the Celtics in the NBA finals two years ago.

The Lakers’ star-studded fan base were suitably happy with the win although several fans took the celebrations a bit too far, starting fires, throwing rocks and bottles at police and jumping on cars in the street.

The plan was to have the Lakers players discuss the season while riding atop a flat-bed truck during Monday’s championship parade. Their answers would then be broadcast to the adoring throng of fans that lined a two-mile route along Figueroa Street.

But whatever Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the rest of the players said Monday afternoon was lost amid the constant cheering and chanting that greeted the Lakers as the city celebrated the team’s latest NBA championship.

“When you’re playing, you don’t really get a chance to see those who are at home or at a local bar watching the game, supporting and screaming and cheering,” Kobe Bryant said before the parade. “Now you get a chance to put a face to it.”

And there certainly were plenty of faces see – many painted in Lakers colors. The crowd, estimated at more than 1 million, created a purple-and-gold sea on both sides of the street, on top of bus stops, fences and restaurants from Staples Center to USC.

The crowd, many of whom had stood there for five hours, cheered hysterically as the truck holding the Lakers players rolled by. Some fans were even brought to tears by the sight of their heroes.

For more than an hour, the noise was deafening as fans, including a construction crew that had stopped working, chanted “Kobe! Kobe! Kobe! and “MVP! MVP!” Some begged Gasol “look over here” for a picture, while others just wanted Lamar to smile.

There were some who yelled for Sasha Vujacic to marry them, while others simply held up signs with the same request. Vujacic seemed to enjoy the attention, screaming back at the fans and applauding them. Bryant said one woman nearly fainted when she saw the Slovenian guard.

On the other side of the street, one young girl made a sign asking guard Shannon Brown to call her and had included her phone number.

Still other fans simply saluted the 2010 NBA champions with Lakers flags, banners and home-made signs. One promoted Derek Fisher for President (in Spanish), another said “Back to Back without Shaq” and yet another read “This is Kobe’s Town.”

By the reaction Bryant received as the truck rolled by the sign was right.

No other player received as much attention as Bryant, who stood alongside his wife, Vanessa, and his two young daughters during the parade. This is Bryant’s fifth such celebration and he seemed to be enjoying it as much as the first one in 2000.

Still, he said that this title was “the best one by far because it was the hardest one to get.” The Lakers defeated their longtime nemesis, the Boston Celtics, in a decisive seventh game to win their 16th championship.

The two-mile celebration was largely peaceful as thousands of LAPD officers lined the street. The parade included a fire truck that carried the Laker Girls and a rig carrying former Lakers greats such as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and A.C. Green.

Unlike last year’s celebration, there wasn’t a rally at the end.

“The energy was so crazy, it almost made me go insane,” said Ron Artest, who hoisted his young daughter onto his shoulders for much of the parade. “I almost wanted to jump into the crowd. Maybe I will do that next year.”

Phil Jackson missed the celebration because of medical appointments he had scheduled and could not be changed, according to Lakers spokesman John Black. Jackson has said his decision to return as coach depends largely on his health.

But the Lakers coach was there in spirit. Lakers executive and Jackson’s girlfriend Jeanie Buss wore a yellow cap with the Roman numeral “X” on it, along with a note that read “+1” – signifying Jackson’s 11 NBA titles he has won as coach.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): NBA Media Ventures, LLC, Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network & Los Angeles Times
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