Los Angeles Lakers stars paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after winning a first NBA title in 10 years
- Los Angeles Lakers stars paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after winning their first NBA title in a decade.
- Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in January.
- "Kobe, I know he's looking down on us super proud," said forward Anthony Davis. "We miss him, and this is definitely for him."
- "Kobe and Gianna's legacy will last forever," Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. "The moment couldn't be any more special to do that for them."
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Los Angeles Lakers stars paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after winning their first NBA title in a decade.
The Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 to seal a 4-2 series victory and secure a joint record 17th championship on Sunday night.
Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in January, spent his entire NBA career with the Lakers, winning five titles, the last of which came in 2010.
"Kobe, I know he's looking down on us super proud," said forward Anthony Davis. "We miss him, and this is definitely for him. Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted is to do it for him, and we didn't let him down." LeBron James, who was named the Finals MVP after scoring 28 points in the title clinching game, echoed Davis' words.
"[The team] got as close as you possibly can be, when that moment happened," James said, referring to Bryant's death.
"It brought the whole basketball world close as well, but when you're internal and it hits home, it just means that much more and we locked in from that very moment and said: 'This is bigger than us.'"
Following the Lakers' win, fans flocked the streets of downtown LA in celebration and rejoiced by chanting "Kobe, Kobe, Kobe."
Fans, many of whom wore Bryant's iconic number 8 and 24 jerseys, also gathered outside a mural of the Lakers icon and his daughter.
"I think Kobe and Gianna have guided this team the entire year," said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
"Kobe's voice is always in my head, always, every day, every minute. For us to be able to win this championship doesn't take away the sting of the loss, but what it does is it helps us add to their legacy.
"Kobe and Gianna's legacy will last forever. It will impact lives around the world in positive ways, and this Lakers championship in 2020 is partly to build on that legacy and honour them. The moment couldn't be any more special to do that for them.
"There would be times in my hotel room here — when you're in a bubble for 100 days, it's tough — there would be times in the middle of the night, I would hear his voice: 'Stay the course. Finish the task.'
"He said, 'I'll give you two, three years, you'll fix this. You'll get the Lakers back on top'."
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