Archives For Finals 2010

Yesterday I was able to make the trek from Bakersfield to Los Angeles for the parade. I brought my D5000 and picked up my sister along the way and set out to celebrate with the 2010 NBA World Champion Lakers. Unfortunately, unlike past years, the parade didn’t end with a rally, but we had a good time nonetheless. As far as the number of people who attended, the latest estimation I heard was about 1 million people. Without further adu, here’s a photo essay of my time at the parade.

 

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We decided to head to the Staples Center first and work our way down Figueroa to get to the Convention Center, the area where we watched the parade from.

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Home, sweet home — and A LOT of cops.

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My sister couldn’t resist posing with one of the little characters from “Dispicable Me”.

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We got our fair share of buzzing at the parade. It wasn’t on the World Cup level, but the vuvuzelas were going strong for the Champs.

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The nerve… We don’t even see the green during the parade.

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Again, there were A LOT of cops.

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Full force.

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The sea of Forum Blue and Gold was amazing to see.

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There were definitely some characters at the parade. This guy was hilarious.

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The creativity of Lakers fans.

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Kobe-dog

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Best seats at the parade.

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This is NOT Pau Gasol.

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The media was going to need a pencil bigger than this one to write off the Lakers this year.

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These guys were the loudest non-vuvuzela blowing fans I heard at the parade.

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Just saw the Good Year blimp, and it read Ice Cube’s a… err.. Lakers are champs.

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It was crazy packed.

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I was lucky to get this spot. Head above the others.

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It’s unbelievable how united a city can become because of a sports team.

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I loved this. Finger wrapped and all.

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The ubiquitous Lakers girls.

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Kobe greeting the people. You wouldn’t believe how happy he looked on that float.

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How many rings do you have now, Kobe? Five? Damn, that’s a grip.

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I was trying to figure out if it was Sasha or Ron who brought Delonte West.

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Magic was jubilant as always.

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A.C. Green… and some women.

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Kareem was the exact opposite of Kobe. Looked like he was brainstorming ideas for his next book: 1,000,001 Things To Do Instead Of Being In a Parade

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And there it is, Congrats to the Lakers who brought home the title for the 16th time.

June 13, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02200618 Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum makes a slam dunk in the first quarter of the NBA Finals Game Five at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 13 June 2010. The best of seven series is tied at two apiece.

His post-season stats won’t show it, but it was blatantly obvious in Game 7 – a game in which he primarily rode the bench – that Andrew Bynum has evolved as a player and as a man. Limited by a knee injury that has bothered him for months, the Lakers’ Big Enigma showed a sense of fortitude that has largely been missing during his first four years in the NBA.

Thankfully, I’ve never torn cartilage in my knee or moreover, tried to play basketball with an injury that severe. I imagine it doesn’t feel like a simple sprained or twisted knee though. Since he entered the league, Andrew has arguably been the most polarizing player on the Lakers roster, with some fans prognosticating a Hall of Fame career and others viewing him as one of the biggest busts in franchise history. Regardless of whether you are a Bynum apologist or champion, one thing was made abundantly clear in these epic 2010 playoffs: #17 is officially, undoubtedly, a gamer.

Gutty isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when you describe Bynum, but his performances against Oklahoma City, Utah, Phoenix and Boston were a huge testament to how far he has come since he was drafted directly out of high school. In many ways, I think that his newfound toughness paralleled that of the entire team in 2010, as evidenced by the Lakers’ grind-it-out mindset that clinched Game 7 against the Celtics. Instead of drawing Kobe’s ire, Andrew earned the remarkably resilient superstar’s respect during these playoffs by pushing forward on a leg that was ready to give out at any given moment. He also received praise from Pau Gasol, who was forced to fill the void in the paint when Bynum was out due to injury during the 2008 playoffs.

“What Andrew is doing throughout these playoffs has been incredible,” said Gasol. “To be able to play through his injuries and the soreness.”

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak echoed the Spaniard’s positive sentiments: “In the world of sports, it’s courageous to see a player get out there and do that. Of course, there are a lot of people in this country that are very courageous that are not in sports. I don’t want to overplay it. But in what we do, it’s showing a lot of guts and a lot of maturity to go out there and try to play.”

Even Phil Jackson, who has notoriously come down hard on Bynum, has noticed the change in his center’s mentality. After Bynum re-tweaked his troublesome knee during the Finals, Jackson said, “He’s been able to overcome those odds almost all the way through these playoffs, ever since Oklahoma. So we’re really optimistic that he’ll be able to find a way to do that.”

I am sure Bynum appreciates the words of encouragement, but the most sure-fire sign of his maturation during this year’s playoffs is that his drive to persevere through injury came from within. “It’s motivating for me,” said Bynum after Game 1 against the Celtics. “I’m just gonna to keep going out there and playing as hard as I can, and whatever happens, happens.”

Despite losing Game 2 at home, Bynum did exactly that with a difference-making 21 points, six rebounds and an especially impressive seven blocks.

In addition to his improved determination, Andrew also provided the Lakers with a boost of confidence and somewhat unexpected dose of enthusiasm, even when relegated to warming the bench at times during the 2010 playoffs.

“I think this one, when we win it, it’s going to taste much sweeter than the one last year,” said Bynum last Thursday before Game 7. “Just knowing that I played with the injury, [came] through and helped us get here. It’s big. We have to win. We’re at home. Everything. We have the momentum right now. We have to go out there and beat this team.”

His pre-game zeal matched his in-game vigor, as there was no bigger cheerleader at STAPLES Center during Game 7 than #17. Whether waving his hands in the air to energize an already rabid fan base or congratulating his teammates during each timeout, Bynum’s presence was felt even when he was not physically able to contribute on the court. As more of a role player in the Finals, Andrew was invaluable.

“It’s all about how you look at it and how you think,” said Bynum about his injury earlier in the playoffs. Call it perspective from playing in the league for a few years or Zen magic; Andrew has transformed himself into a player deserving of unanimous praise for the way he handled himself over the past two-plus months. How this translates into Bynum’s on-court production for next season remains a mystery. Watching him gut it out in these playoffs should finally end the speculation about his courage and heart though.

“I have to go out and be ready to play,” said Bynum before Game 7. No hesitation. No doubt. Just words of confidence from a player who blossomed in unexpected ways during the 2010 playoffs.

A history of celebrations…

1972: I don’t yell much, and I’m not much of a drinker,” West said. “Really, I can’t figure out much that I’ll be able to do except maybe smile a lot.” When they did win, the Lakers were subdued. They drank their victory champagne out of wine glasses, while West smiled as predicted and delivered what were in effect a couple of toasts.

How things have evolved…

1980: Magic was too young for champagne… Trophy presentation 3:30

1982: Trophy presentation 3:40.

1985: “LA’s the Place!”

“Ain’t nothing but a party, y’all.”

1987: “I’m guaranteeing everyone here. Next year were going to win it again.”


Complete with footage from their visit with then president Reagan.

1988: “With 20 seconds to go, we were celebrating like we were champs. I said, ‘Hey don’t celebrate.’ I’m always scared. I’m scared until the final buzzer goes off.” -Magic

Kareem stuffs his towel in Riley’s mouth after Brent Musburger tempts Riley to guarantee another title. 7:50


2000:
“We gonna get another one next year. Caaaan yoooooou dig it?”

2001: a hint of things to come…

2002: “It takes Two”

2009: 1-2-3 Ring!

First of all, Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there – especially mine. I know for many fans, their love of the Lakers is something that has been passed down from father to son (or daughter) and with the Lakers now celebrating another championship these are special times. And I know on Father’s Day, a lot of dads love to sit around and watch TV and relax on a day that’s all theirs. So, in between gearing up for the final round of the US Open or watching some Wold Cup action enjoy some of the best Lakers videos from the last few days.

First up, we’ve got the appearance of Kobe, Fish, Ron, DJ, Josh, Shannon, and Sasha on Jimmy Kimmel. Great stuff from the guys in these clips.

 

Next up, the video that will live in infamy, Ron Artest’s post game press conference. This is some of the best 10 minutes of TV I’ve ever watched. He’s just so damned happy. And hilarious.

Finally, the mini-movie from game 7. NBA.com did a great job putting these game summaries together and, considering the result of this one, I have to say that this one is the best.

Game 7 was an historic defensive war that will be remembered for generations to come not for a single defining play, but instead for its series of grueling mini-battles that made a monumental difference in deciding the outcome of the game. While devoid of an “MJ over Russell” type of moment, it was still very much ripe with drama and in a lot of cases, from unlikely sources. With two days gone by since the confetti-filled celebration at STAPLES, let’s take a look back at seven pivotal moments that helped lead the Lakers to their sixteenth NBA championship.

7:40, 2nd quarter: With the Lakers falling behind early and Kobe admittedly feeling the effects of a season of injuries, the forum blue and gold desperately needed someone to step up. Enter: Ron Artest. Kobe’s legs literally gave up on him during this play, forcing him into a difficult attempt that narrowly beat the shot clock buzzer, before missing badly. Luckily, Artest came to the rescue with a put-back that reclaimed the lead for the Lakers. Ron’s offensive board was one of a dominating 23 for the Lake Show on the night, compared to only eight for the Celtics.

1:22, 2nd quarter: The Lakers were desperate for a spark heading into halftime after Boston stymied their early second quarter momentum. Once again, it was Artest who literally and figuratively stepped up to the Celtics, refusing to back down after becoming entangled with Paul Pierce underneath the basket. The C’s came out with their fists up in Game 7 and though it isn’t something that will show up on the stat sheet, I think the team really needed someone to shake things up – a role Ron was practically born into.

3:48, 3rd quarter: Down by nine points with under four minutes to go in the third quarter, the Lakers were quickly arriving at fight or flight time. Lamar Odom, who had a timely seven points to go along with seven boards on the night, barreled down, channeled his inner Magic and sailed past Kevin Garnett for an easy layup that began the Lakers’ epic charge in the game’s final 15 minutes.

6:14, 4th quarter: Did anyone really think a Game 7 would go by without Derek Fisher putting his stamp on it? Fish did just that, nailing one of his signature rainbows from beyond the arc to tie the game at 64 nearing the halfway point of the fourth, immediately resulting in a timeout for Boston. While most people will probably remember Derek’s spellbinding fourth quarter performance in Game 3 of this series, his second of only two treys in Game 7 was every bit as meaningful.

5:22, 4th quarter: After finally getting over the proverbial hump to take a two point lead, Kobe took advantage of an isolation against Ray Allen, connecting on a jumper that pushed the lead to four. Bryant’s basket wasn’t anything special in and of itself, but who didn’t breathe a collective sigh of relief when that shot went down? Even in one of the worst shooting performances of his career, #24 still found a way to contribute down the stretch and his Game 7 performance should be remembered for that, not his field goal percentage. On a side note, this play was also significant as it came immediately after another crucial wide open second half miss from Allen. If just two or three of his 11 misses in 14 attempts goes down, we might be talking about a whole other topic right now.

1:56, 4th quarter: “The Spaniard” was one of the first people Kobe credited during the MVP trophy presentation and rightfully so. Like Bryant, Gasol struggled from the field, shooting only 6-16, yet he racked up 18 rebounds and two blocked shots – the most important of which came in the final two minutes of the game. With the Lakers clinging to a precarious four point lead, Pau delivered an emphatic message to the Celtics, blocking Pierce’s layup attempt before sinking his own shot under the hoop to give the Lakers a six point lead that they never relinquished. The final six minutes of the game in general were a role reversal from the previous three and a half quarters as it was the L.A., not Boston, who consistently responded to the Celtics’ mini rallies.

1:31, 4th quarter: Give the Celtics credit; they refused to back down even when it looked like they were dead in the water during the game’s final minute. Point and case: L.A. takes what looks to be a semi-commanding six point lead at 76-70 and Rasheed Wallace nails a three to bring it back to a one possession game. Thankfully, Game MVP Artest’s perfect timing isn’t just reserved for his post-game comedy routines as he delivered a three-point dagger that sent STAPLES Center into pandemonium. I’m not sure I was breathing at all for the final six minutes of the game, but Ron Ron’s triple was probably the closest I came to exhaling for the next half an hour. It was an especially fitting, if not ironic climax in a season where most fans screamed in horror every time Artest shot the ball from the perimeter. On Thursday, they serenaded him with cheers of joy instead.

An honorable mention goes to Sasha Vujacic for hitting the two most clutch free throws of the game and his life. His two freebies in the final seconds of the game encapsulated 48 punishing minutes of basketball that didn’t need a game-winning shot to transform Game 7 into an instant classic. This latest clash with the Celtics was won through a series of smaller moments that added up to one giant Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.