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It took months, but the Los Angeles Lakers finally raised their latest championship banner into the rafters at the Staples Center.
The Lakers, ahead of their matchup with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, officially hung up their championship banner after winning the NBA Finals last season.
The Lakers claimed the franchise’s 17th NBA title in October after they beat the Miami Heat inside the bubble at Walt Disney World. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Lakers and the Clippers weren’t allowed to welcome fans into the Staples Center for games for most of this season.
So, with no fans there, the team opted to wait. Instead, a black banner with the words “Stay Tuned Lakers Family” hung in its place.
"We won't be unveiling a banner because we want to wait for the fans on that," Lakers president of business operations Tim Harris told ESPN in December. "When you win a championship, the championship has a lot of quote-unquote owners. A championship belongs to the team, it belongs to the players, it belongs to the fans.
"And then the stuff that comes with a championship, the assets that come with a championship, it's kind of like the ownership group are the caretakers of the trophy. And the rings when you win a championship, those belong to the players. And the banner when you win a championship belongs to the fans. That's kind of how I look at this."
Even though the arena wasn't packed on Wednesday night for their regular-season home finale — the Staples Center started allowing a limited number of fans into games last month — the Lakers decided it was time.
The last piece of their championship hardware is now in place.
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