The Los Angeles Lakers have not yet been able to celebrate the franchise’s 17th championship with fans and a customary parade, but the team will be formally recognized prior to facing the L.A. Clippers on Opening Night.
The Lakers announced a championship ring ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. PT on Tuesday. The ceremony will be broadcast live by TNT, who has exclusive rights to the Lakers’ season opener against the Clippers.
Although teams traditionally do receive their rings and raise the banner on the first date of the ensuing season, there was uncertainty for the Lakers. It was caused by not only by the quick turnaround from the Lakers winning the title but also the organization’s desire to involve fans.
The team previously announced games at Staples Center would be played without fans in attendance for the time being.
Tuesday can't come soon enough ???? pic.twitter.com/4PlOiguOru
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 21, 2020
As for the rings, Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka recently indicated he wasn’t certain if the team would have them for Opening Night. “Our business side, who is led by Tim Harris, they tend to be more in charge of those things and it’s something that is ongoing. I don’t want to answer a question I don’t know the answer to,” Pelinka said.
Although it had been a decade since the Lakers last won the title, their two most recent ring nights were successful. They opened the 2009-10 season with a win over the Clippers, and defeated the Houston Rockets to start the 2010-11 campaign.
Beyond some of the emotion and excitement that typically comes with such a pregame ceremony, the Lakers face a challenge of coming off a truncated offseason.
Frank Vogel expects sloppy play
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has both raved about his roster and their ability while also raising caution over the expected level of play. “I don’t think we’re as ready as we would like to be,” he said on the eve of Opening Night.
“Like we’ve said all along, we’re not feeling sorry for ourselves in any way, but the short offseason and condensed preseason has us in a place where we’re probably going to still be figuring things out the first month or so of the season. We’ll probably have some ugly nights along the way, some ugly moments. That’s to be expected and that’s OK.”
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