The Los Angeles Lakers have 16 world championships to boast alongside their rich history of coaches and players. Many Hall-of-Fame players and coaches have graced the Forum or Staples Center and have led their teams to a championship. However, star players can not do it alone and need the help of their role players throughout the season.
The three-peat championship Lakers teams provided many role players who understood their roles. For instance, current Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was brought in to defend the speedy guards that Derek Fisher would have trouble guarding. Aside from Allen Iverson’s baseline crossover, Lue was would pester his defenders constantly and allow Fisher and Kobe Bryant to rest on the defensive end.
The 39-year-old won two championship rings with the Lakers, with the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 teams. Those two rings were the sole part of his championship collection, until he took over as the head coach of the Cavaliers halfway into the 2015-16 season.
Lue and LeBron James pulled off a miraculous stunt, coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the defending champion Golden State Warriors to collect Cleveland’s first professional championship in their 52-year history.
When asked about the meaning of this championship, Lue stated the significance meant more than his two rings with the Lakers, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
“It meant more because of everything I had to go through,” Lue said following Monday’s practice. “I think the Lakers, when I won two championships, we were favored to win so being the underdogs going into the Finals, being down 3-1, going through all the things I had to go through in the second half of the season and our team had to go through, this meant a lot more to me than the first two.”
The Missouri native was dealing with a lot on his plate, including declining health from his mother and grandmother, who were battling against cancer. Both the supportive figures in his life were unable to attend any games after he became the head coach, including the NBA finals.
His mother is expected to be in attendance during the Cavaliers’ ring ceremony on Tuesday, officially marking the beginning of the NBA season.
Although Lue was a valuable part of the Lakers during his three-year tenure with the Lakers, the scrutiny he faced while with the Cavaliers certainly added to the pleasure of the ring.
The head coach was seen crying on the bench after the Cavaliers won Game 7, taking in all the emotional aspects of what he and his team accomplished.