A marathon of a season ended in jubilation for the Los Angeles Lakers organization which, after a nightmare decade, climbed back up to the top of the NBA and won its 17th championship.
It was a poignant moment for many of its players, even those who played for the longtime rival. Rajon Rondo had to wait for his next title even longer than L.A., last time hoisting the trophy when he beat the Lakers when with the Boston Celtics in the memorable 2008 NBA Finals.
He became only the second player ever to win the championship with the Celtics and the Lakers, and the first to accomplish the feat as a member of the franchise’s time in L.A.
But for Rondo, this championship tastes different not only because of his past history with Boston or the 12-year wait, but because this time, he got to celebrate it with his son beside him.
“I think the first question he asked when we won, he was like, ‘When do I get my ring?’” Rondo said.
“I’m extremely excited to be able to get his size, his ring size and order him one as well. It’s definitely a surreal moment. He definitely understands what’s going on, and like I said, I’m a proud dad.”
Despite the young age, Rajon Rondo Jr. already showed he, much like his dad, is a competitor. The Lakers guard said his son was left disappointed by L.A.’s excruciating Game 5 loss that prolonged the Miami Heat series.
“I definitely feel like I let him down,” Rondo said. “He was pretty pissed that we didn’t finish the job two nights ago, and I didn’t sleep well that night. He didn’t sleep well.”
Howard out of words after winning NBA championship
Dwight Howard’s journey was yet another fascinating storyline of the season. The 34-year-old center returned to L.A. in the summer of 2019 to replace the injured DeMarcus Cousins and redeem himself after his disappointing one-year spell with the Lakers in 2012.
Howard quickly became a significant role player despite starting games on the bench for the first time in his career. And his effort was rewarded with his first NBA title — won in Orlando, the place he started his career.
“I was just like, ‘Man, this is the moment that I’ve been dreaming about every day since I came back to this team’,” Howard said.
“I am very grateful and thankful just to have this opportunity and this is a blessing from the most high. I don’t have a lot of words, I’m just very grateful.”
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