Los Angeles Lakers governor Jeanie Buss announced that the team will raise its 2019-2020 NBA Championship banner on May 12 before their game against the Houston Rockets, which is their final home game of the regula season.
Buss has waited to raise the banner, promising fans that Los Angeles will eventually get to celebrate its recent championship when the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation improved. With the recent downward trend of infections and increased number of vaccinated individuals, the banner ceremony is finally feasible.
In an appearance on Spectrum SportsNet before the Lakers’ game against the Miami Heat on Thursday, Buss explained the team’s reasoning for the delay:
“There was a couple reasons why we waited,” Buss said. “First of all, Opening Night we didn’t have any fans so now that we’ve finally gotten the nod that we’re allowed to have some fans, we decided that the last regular season game would be good because we’ll have as many fans as we can get and hopefully we’ll have a completely healthy team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the court and it’s a good sendoff as we prepare to go into the playoffs.”
With COVID-19 cases on the downswing in California, Governor Gavin Newsom eased on protocols and allowed stadiums to begin allowing fans back for games. The Lakers recently announced fans would be welcome back to Staples Center on April 15 when the team takes on the Boston Celtics.
While it is unclear how many fans will be able to attend games, this is exciting news as several Lakers like LeBron James have publicly said they were waiting for the day they could once again play in front of a crowd. Raising a championship banner is a historical moment for any basketball franchise, so Buss and the rest of the Lakers organization were right in waiting for a time when members of Lakers Nation could be in attendance.
By the time the banner officially gets raised to the rafters, the playoffs will be right around the corner so hopefully it motivates the Purple and Gold before they mount their title defense.
Lakers should still be considered championship favorites
The recent rash of injuries has taken the luster of the Lakers roster, but when they are healthy they are the clear favorite to win the 2021 NBA Championship. The team has been able to stay competitive even without James and Davis, so there is optimism the they will be dominant once the roster is finally healthy.
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