With the Los Angeles Lakers one win from the franchise’s 17th championship, Staples Center and L.A. Live have asked fans not to be in the area for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.
Staples Center, nor L.A. Live, will be showing the game against the Miami Heat or potential postgame celebrations on any of the area’s digital video boards. Furthermore, vehicle and pedestrian access will be limited.
All sidewalks on the north and south sides of Chick Hearn Court will be closed, along with Star Plaza at Staples Center and L.A. Live’s Microsoft Plaza.
Staples Center showed NBA Finals games on its video board during the early days of the Lakers’ three-peat, but disruptive celebrations curtailed that practice. When the late Kobe Bryant played the final game of his illustrious career in 2016, the Lakers arranged a street festival outside Staples Center, but the game was not aired.
Of course, circumstances this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic likely would have ruled out fans being invited to congregate outside the Lakers’ home arena.
It’s a disappointing reality for a season in which the Lakers ended a six-year playoff drought. Their trip to the NBA Finals is the franchise’s first in 10 years.
Lakers fans missed
With the NBA restart taking place entirely in a bubble on the Walt Disney World campus, several Lakers players have alluded to wishing their postseason run could have been played at Staples Center.
That message was all the more prevalent when Anthony Davis made a buzzer-beater 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. And with L.A. one win from a championship, that came to the forefront once again.
“It’s heartbreaking. We really wanted to feel that this energy coming from the crowd, from the fans,” Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “But we can feel it all the way in Orlando in the bubble.
“We know you’re all out there cheering for us, rooting for us, all very happy for us. Just to have that type of experience, it would have been great, but we’re going to make the best of it. We feel all the love, energy from our fans back home.”
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