Webbies rejoice as the Los Angeles Lakers end their Championship Drought

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Arshia Sazi (‘22), Jaydyn Akpengbe (‘22), Mikey Chai (‘22), and Xander Kong (‘22) showcase their Lakers gear following the championship win. Mikey and Jaydyn wear the jersey of Lebron James, MVP of the 2020 NBA Championship series. 

“And that’s it, it’s over,” said Jeff Van Gundy, famed NBA announcer. “This historic 2020 NBA Championship belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers … Banner number 17 will soon hang in the rafters.”  

Purple and gold confetti streamed from the ceiling as the bench ran onto the court to join the huddled players jumping up and down in celebration of their hard-fought victory over the Miami Heat. All around the world, families and friends pumped their fists and hugged in front of their TV screens as they basked in the jubilation of the historic moment. 

“It’s been a long time coming,” Lily Chiu (‘21) said. “I saw a tweet after our win commenting on how far we’ve come with a screenshot of our 2015 lineup…rough. Even in the past two years we went from having a really large group of rookies to older players like Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, but they ended up proving just how important they were to this championship. Especially with Kobe’s passing this year and Covid, it has certainly been an emotional rollercoaster so coming out on top meant a lot.” 

Additionally, with their 17th championship, the Lakers finally surpass their longtime rivals, the Boston Celtics. Therefore, it is no shock that the entire Lakers community shared the team’s enthusiasm. 

Through a nail-biting series of four games, they fought their way through the star-studded Western conference, soaring past the Portland Trail-Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets to make their first NBA finals appearance since 2010. After countless seasons with under 0.500 percentages, some Webbies were there to witness this storied organization reclaim their throne after a ten-year drought.   

“I think it is really important. It’s not like the city was starved of championship basketball by any means because its only been 10 years and compared to other fanbases we are really lucky,” said Marshall Olmos (‘21). “But in the midst of a pandemic, I think a championship definitely raises the morale of a city.” 

And Marshall is not the only Lakers fan who is ecstatic about their win.   

“Elated, absolutely elated about this win,” said Jaydyn Akpengbe (‘22), a lifelong Lakers fan. “I think it’s going to be interesting on how Lebron and Anthony Davis will go down the line in this competitive Western Conference,” Jaydyn said. “Nevertheless, it was amazing to see them work well together, know their role and do what was best for the team with no examples of their conflicting egos as shown before with Kyrie Irving and Lebron.”  

Indeed, the Lakers took a commanding lead at 3-1 against the Miami Heat and closed out the series 4-2, showcasing their strength in the paint and ability to make clutch buckets.  

“To be honest, I almost cried,” Jaydyn said. “I recalled the moments of when I was six years old and saw the Lakers win a championship for the first time. I remember the scenes of Kobe running down the court to catch the ball as the buzzer sounded, as he was joined with Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace), Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Derek Fisher. It was truly amazing to see this happen once again 10 years later.”  

Tracing back to the team’s early days in the Los Angeles Forum, the team got its start with Wilt Chamberlain, one of the most dominant basketball players in history. Followed by the arrival of the “Showtime” Lakers led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Los Angeles soon became a powerhouse in the basketball world. Although they had a dry spell following their prolific seasons in the 1980s, Lakers fans were soon graced with the powerful 3-time championship winning duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’ Neal, followed by another two championships led by Bryant and Pau Gasol at the decade. But the absence of these players through retirement and trade respectively created another period of seasons full of losses for disgruntled Lakers fans. Until today, where the Lebron James and Anthony Davis led team makes history once again and creates the next potential Lakers dynasty. 

Although they had a dry spell following their prolific seasons in the 1980s, Lakers fans were soon graced with the powerful 3-time championship winning duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’ Neal, followed by another two championships led by Bryant and Pau Gasol at the decade. But the absence of these players through retirement and trade respectively created another period of seasons full of losses for disgruntled Lakers fans. Until today, where the Lebron James and Anthony Davis led team makes history once again and creates the next potential Lakers dynasty. 

However, before Lakers fans begin preemptively celebrating a 2021 championship victory, Lebron James is reaching the age where players often retire.  

“This duo may have 2-3 more years together, but Lebron is not going to be around forever and the league is really strong right now,” Marshall said. “There is no guarantee on another ring, but it’s a possibility. I think it’ll be more like Kobe and Pau – there isn’t any drama with this duo unlike Kobe and Shaq and there isn’t going to be an ugly end to this era.” 

As Lakers stars and fans embraced with tears of joy, they made sure to pay tribute to their fallen hero Kobe Bryant, who helped guide the purple and gold to 5 NBA championships, the most recent of which in 2010. For NBA fans, this season has been anything but ordinary. Coping with the loss of one of the game’s biggest icons and the shortened NBA season played behind closed doors, seeing the Larry O’Brien return to Los Angeles was a fairytale ending to this roller-coaster season .