The 2020-21 NBA season was a difficult one for the Los Angeles Lakers as not only were they plagued by injuries, but they also didn’t have the luxury of having a homecourt advantage without fans in Staples Center.
The hope is that will change this year though as the expectation is Staples Center will be able to be at full capacity when the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors on Opening Night. There are still coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in place in L.A., but full capacity is allowed as long as everyone is either vaccinated or provides a negative test within 72 hours.
At a recent press conference, Rob Pelinka spoke about the challenges of last season and one thing he is excited for this year is for Lakers Nation to fill Staples Center and cheer for the team once again.
“We’re incredibly excited, obviously with the guidance of the local authorities and with the state, but we’re excited that it looks like Staples Center will be full with Lakers fans for Opening Night,” Pelinka said. “Obviously in a safe way, and following all the guidelines. In talking with our guys, just getting the energy of our fans back is going to be incredible. Maybe one of the bright spots for the start of the season. It was a hard grind to play night after night without our fans and I think it takes a toll.
“We’re grateful to be in a place where we can play the Warriors again on Opening Night at Staples Center and plan to do that in a safe way with our fans there cheering on this team. I know coach (Vogel) has talked about Russell and the first game, being at home and all the energy he brings, we may have to take a time out after 90 seconds because he’ll be so gassed up to get going. But I just think overall this team, the way we built it, the energy that Lakers Nation brings night in and night out in Staples Center is gonna be a key ingredient to our success.”
The Lakers essentially have a brand new roster this season, so when fans do go to Staples Center they will get to see players like Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and DeAndre Jordan in the Purple and Gold for the first time.
L.A. has championship aspirations this season and the team will definitely need the fans behind them if they want to achieve that goal.
Vogel’s motvation to win championship remains unchanged
The Lakers last championship, which they won around a year ago, wasn’t won in front of fans as they were in the bubble in Orlando due to the pandemic.
While the feeling of winning your first championship is like none other, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel recently stated he’s as motivated as ever to win another, hopefully with fans being able to watch in person this time.
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