The Lakers Have a Heartwarming Reason for Not Unveiling Their Championship Banner on Opening Night
Behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 title over the Miami Heat at Walt Disney World in the NBA bubble. It was the Lakers’ 17th championship in franchise history and LeBron’s fourth title and fourth Finals MVP.
Unlike every other champion in NBA history, though, the 2020 Lakers weren’t able to celebrate their championship with fans due to COVID-19. There were no fans at Walt Disney World, and the Lakers didn’t have a championship parade in LA.
The 2020-21 season opens on Tuesday, with the Brooklyn Nets hosting the Golden State Warriors. The nightcap will be the Lakers taking on the Clippers. While LeBron and Co. will be receiving their championship rings, they will be holding off another traditional ceremony for a heartwarming reason.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were a lethal duo last season
LeBron James and Anthony Davis clicked on and off the court quicker than anyone expected in 2019-20. It helps that both superstars share the same agent in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.
In 67 games last season, James averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 10.2 assists per contest. For the first time in his legendary career, LeBron led the NBA in assists per game since he was playing point guard for the Lakers.
Meanwhile, Davis was elite for the Lakers on both ends of the floor in his first season in LA. The Chicago native put up 26.1 points, 9.3 boards, 3.2 assists, and 2.3 blocks per game. Davis finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
The Lakers racked up the best record in the Western Conference during the 2019-20 regular season. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way, everyone picked the Purple and Gold to win the 2020 title, even after it was announced that zero fans would be in the NBA bubble.
The Lakers lost only five games in the 2020 playoffs
The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference playoffs to reach the Finals. LA lost Game 1 of the Blazers and Rockets series but rattled off four wins in a row following each Game 1 loss.
In the Finals against the Heat, the Lakers took a 2-0 series lead over Jimmy Butler’s group. However, Miami won Games 3 and 5 behind historical performances from Butler. Since they were the underdogs, the Heat went into Game 6 pretty calm since they knew all the pressure was on LeBron James and the Lakers.
However, the Lakers blew out the Heat in Game 6 and easily won by 13 points. Anthony Davis finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while James put up 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists for another triple-double in the Finals.
By being named Finals MVP, LeBron became the first player in NBA history to win three Finals MVP awards with three different teams.
Lakers won’t unveil 2020 title banner without fans
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers won’t unveil their 2020 championship banner until fans are allowed to return to Staples Center. The team will have a black cloak covering the latest championship banner for opening night. There will be a message on the banner that reads, “Stay tuned, Lakers family.”
“We won’t be unveiling a banner because we want to wait for the fans on that,” Lakers president of business operations Tim Harris told ESPN. “When you win a championship, the championship has a lot of quote-unquote owners. A championship belongs to the team, it belongs to the players, it belongs to the fans.”
This is a great gesture by the Lakers. Purple and Gold fans have been through a lot in 2020, with the passing of legend Kobe Bryant being the biggest tragedy. Once fans are eventually let back into Staples Center, it will be special for Lakers supporters to witness the unveiling of the 2020 championship banner live instead of watching it on TV.