Lakers win NBA title in historic season


Parampreet Aulakh

Online Editor-In-Chief Parampreet Aulakh shows off some of his Lakers gear as he celebrates their NBA Finals win. He has been a Lakers fan for as long as he can remember.

Parampreet Aulakh

After 10 long and strenuous years, the Los Angeles Lakers are once again NBA Champions, capturing their 17th title in franchise history.

In an NBA season that was marred by hardship after hardship, the Lakers are the only ones left standing. To begin 2020, the former commissioner of the NBA, David Stern passed away leaving behind a legacy of truly globalizing the league. On Jan. 26, Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash. This shook the fabric of the entire NBA community and even more specifically this Lakers team because they were tasked with being the ones to carry on the legacy Kobe left behind in the 20 years he spent on the team.

Even through all of that, the NBA season went along as planned until March 11 when the season was suspended due to growing concern about COVID-19 and multiple positive tests across the league. The Lakers who at that point in the season were hitting their stride had their momentum completely halted. The NBA finally returned on July 30 but in a way that nobody would ever envision. Players from 22 teams congregated at Disney World in Orlando to resume the season in a “bubble” environment, with no fans, daily testing and neutral arenas. There were doubts about how secure an environment like that would be but against all odds the NBA continued and there were zero positive tests for three months.

The players returned with a heightened focus on social justice after a summer of civil unrest in our nation. Some players chose to have social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys and the court itself said Black Lives Matter. In the first round of the playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted a game in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. From Aug. 26-28 all of the scheduled playoff games were postponed due to the boycott by the players. This spurred a greater emphasis for players to promote voting in the upcoming presidential election and many initiatives to help people have accessibility to voting.

  Back to the basketball itself, there were a number of breathtaking playoff matchups in the early rounds including the Denver Nuggets making two improbable 3-1 comebacks, including one against the heavily favored Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers on the flip side, absolutely steamrolled their way through the Western Conference on the backs of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They only lost a total of three games through the first three rounds of the playoffs and faced off against the young underdog Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Early in the series, it seemed like the Lakers were going to sweep the Heat but two historic performances from Jimmy Butler gave Miami some hope. Game five in particular stung as a Laker fan because they could have won the series on a game winner which would have been the most picture perfect way to win. They did get the job done in six games against the Heat with some absolutely stifling defense in the closeout game six. 

Personally, this season by the Lakers gave me exactly what I needed in a year that has been full of gut punches. Losing Kobe Bryant earlier this year still doesn’t sound real for me to say out loud because he is someone I have idolized for my whole life.  I’ve watched Laker basketball from before I could walk and they have always been a constant in my life. Even in the past seven seasons, before this one, I stuck by the team even when they were winning a measly 17 games a season. 

This team was able to embody everything Kobe Bryant stood for and all of their hard work will have them immortalized amongst the pantheon of the greatest NBA teams of all time. Just as I remember the 2010 Lakers team that won the championship, I will be able to remember this team with that same level of reverence. It is somewhat ironic for me personally because I grew up despising LeBron James because he was constantly compared to Kobe but now he is carrying on his legacy and my hate has turned to admiration over time. 

The journey everyone on the team went through is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Basketball for me has always been an escape from the monotony of everyday life and after everything that has happened this year, I’m ecstatic the Lakers were once again able to bring me true happiness.