NEW YORK: After having tipped off over a year ago, the 2019-20 NBA season came to a close Sunday with the Los Angeles Lakers attaining basketball immortality as they captured the 2020 NBA title with a dominating 106-93 win over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
In winning the 2020 NBA title, the Lakers franchise now has won 17 championships, tying the Boston Celtics for most titles in league history. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1960, the Lakers have won 11 championships, which leads the league in that span.
The Lakers' inspirational captain and NBA superstar LeBron James was unanimously voted 2020 NBA Finals MVP, winning the vote over teammate Anthony Davis. James is now the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different franchises: the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and now, the Lakers. That makes it four championships and four Finals MVPs in 17 years for the 35-year-old legend. Only Jordan (6) has more Finals MVP trophies. 'King' James is also the 4th player to win Finals MVP at age 35 or older, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Jordan.
James had this to say during the MVP trophy presentation: "It means a lot. It means a lot to represent this franchise.
"I told Jeanie [Buss, Lakers owner] when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back in a position where it belongs. Her late, great father did it for so many years and she just took it on after that and for me to be part of such a historical franchise is an unbelievable feeling, not only for myself, but for my team-mates, for the organisation, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that's here.
"We just want our respect. Rob [Pelinka, Lakers GM] wants his respect, coach [Frank] Vogel wanted his respect, our organisation want their respect, Laker Nation want their respect and I want my damn respect too."
Of James' achievement, CBS Sports' Sam Quinn wrote: "While LeBron's overall place in history, especially compared to (Chicago Bulls legend Michael) Jordan, is still being litigated, this award undoubtedly gives him a unique edge over practically every superstar in league history. No matter where he has played, James has led his team to a championship. No player has ever been able to say the same for as many teams, and in all likelihood, no other player ever will."
Among the flurry of reactions that poured forth (and continue to do so) in the wake of the historic victory achieved with the competition taking place in a COVID-bubble, NBA All Star Isaiah Thomas put it aptly, posting on his official Twitter handle: "It was only right for the Lakers to win the championship this year!!! That was for (the late) Kobe (Bryant) Yellow heartPurple heart"