Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers successfully achieved their No. 1 goal from when the season began almost one year ago.
In that time, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others served as more motivation to finish an already-trying season with a championship. This is especially true for Davis, who became close to Bryant during their time together at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Bryant was a fervent supporter of this year’s Lakers team, attending multiple games and speaking highly of Davis and LeBron James. After his death, James promised to carry on his Lakers legacy and the team embraced the challenge of winning a championship in his memory.
Now that the job has been completed, Davis felt that he and the team made Bryant proud, reiterating that they wanted to win for him. “I know he’s looking down on us super proud,” Davis said after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
“Before the tragedy, he would come to the game and just tell us, ‘This is y’all year. This is y’all year. Go out and take it.’ He had a lot of confidence in our team. He had a lot of confidence in our organization to go out there and win it this year. When we brought out the Mamba jerseys, we had a different swag.
“It sucks that we didn’t go undefeated, but I know he would rather take this championship than a loss in a Mamba jersey. We miss him, and this is definitely for him.”
It’s heartbreaking to the entire team and for fans that Bryant did not get to see the Lakers’ first championship since his huge win in 2010 over the Boston Celtics. However, Bryant did leave the team with all the motivation they needed to ensure the Larry O’Brien trophy would return to L.A.
Now, the Lakers next championship — No. 18 — will put them ahead of the Celtics for most in NBA history and would undoubtedly cement them as basketball’s greatest franchise. None of that would be possible without Bryant.
Jeanie Buss proud of Lakers for organically honoring Bryant
Lakers controlling governor Jeanie Buss was a lifelong friend of Bryant’s, and was perhaps one of the people most heartbroken by the news of his death. While she did everything she could to honor Bryant off the court, she’s most proud that players were able to honor him organically on the court.
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