“For Kobe and Gigi.”
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, winning their 17th championship, a tie for the most in league history.
The victory comes nearly nine months after legendary Laker Kobe Bryant was killed in a January 26 helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
The night was filled with celebrations, celebrity reactions, and, unfortunately, controversy.
Here are the most notable moments:
Following their 106-93 victory at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, Lakers LeBron James and Anthony Davis both honored Kobe in their post-game interviews.
LeBron said the tragedy had brought the entire basketball community together.
"We got as close as you possibly can be, when that moment happened," James told NBA TV. "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.'"
Anthony added in his interview that Kobe was “a big brother” to him and his teammates, and said he knows that the legendary player is “proud” of the team’s 17th championship.
"Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him," Anthony said. "I know he's looking down on us proud of us. I know [Kobe’s wife] Vanessa's proud of us, the organization's proud of us. It means a lot to us. It's a tough moment, man. He was a big brother to all of us. We did this for him.”
Kobe played for the Lakers for his entire 20-year career, wearing jersey numbers 8 and 24.
Vanessa Bryant Speaks Out
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, took to social media to congratulate the Lakers on their well-deserved win.
While posting a throwback photo of Kobe and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka on Instagram Story, Vanessa wrote, "Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @Lakers Kobe was right RP 'stay the course- block out the noise' - @kobebryant."
She added, "Wish Kobe and Gianna were here to see this."
Before Game 5 of the Finals, the Lakers announced that they would wear Black Mamba uniforms designed by Kobe in 2016.
Vanessa applauded the decision, writing on IG Story, "Mamba and Mambacita jerseys approved for game 5.”
“Black Mamba” was Kobe’s nickname, while “Mambacita” was Gianna’s.
Hollywood Cheers on The Lakers!
After the Lakers took home the trophy, numerous celebrities celebrated their win!
In a video posted to Instagram, Rihanna, who wore Kobe’s 24 jersey, belted out Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”
Vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris also congratulated the team, writing, “You make California proud.”
Additionally, both Kerry Washington and model Choyce Brown wrote tweets commemorating Kobe and Gianna.
I’d like to think Kobe and Gigi played a part in this win.— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) October 12, 2020
for kobe and gigi 🥺— choyce (@choycebrown) October 12, 2020
Arrests In Los Angeles
Sadly, the night was not without controversy.
According to TMZ, the Los Angeles Police Department says 76 people were arrested and eight officers injured after fans celebrated the victory outside Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Authorities added that two people were injured by "less lethal munitions fired by our officers."
Additionally, officials say more than 30 buildings were damaged.
"What started out as a largely peaceful celebration of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA championship in downtown Los Angeles, turned into confrontational, violent, and destructive behavior late last night,” the LAPD said in a statement.
"A crowd of more than 1,000 revelers descended into the area around Staples Center after the game. Unruly individuals mixed within the crowd began throwing glass bottles, rocks, and other projectiles at officers."
"That is when an unlawful assembly was declared, and only a limited number of people complied and began to disperse. A larger portion of the group broke off and began vandalizing businesses while continuing to engage in violent behavior, some aimed at responding officers,” they continued. "In total, 76 individuals were arrested for Vandalism, Assault on a Police Officer, and Failure to Disperse."