The coronavirus will delay an official celebration in honor of the franchise’s 17th title, but that didn’t stop fans from lining the streets near LAX to welcome the team home on Monday.Lakers cheered as they return to L.A. as newly crowned NBA champs — San Gabriel Valley Tribune
The Lakers are the +350 favorites at the Westgate win the 2021 NBA title, followed by the Clippers (5-1), Bucks (7-1), Warriors (8-1) and Nets (10-1).Los Angeles Lakers favorites to repeat as NBA champions in 2021 — Las Vegas Review-Journal
Thousands of Lakers fans gathered outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to celebrate the team’s 17th NBA championship late Sunday, despite pleas by city leaders to avoid the area and large crowds because of the coronavirus. Helicopter footage showed a large raucous and jubilant crowd cheering and setting off fireworks in the streets…Lakers fans gather to celebrate at Staples Center, despite warnings to avoid the area — Press Telegram
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The final moments of the longest season in NBA history were dominated by a feeling that ran entirely counter to the 13 months that preceded it: Absolute dead certainty. The Lakers smothered the Miami Heat, not surrendering any sliver of space willingly and pummeling them on the other end of…Lakers’ 2020 season added up to even more than an NBA title — Press Telegram
October 11, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Game 6: Postgame
Los Angeles Lakers – 106, Miami Heat – 93
Q. Three seasons ago after you beat Toronto, you told Cleveland.com that you didn’t have anything left to prove when you were asked what you have left to prove. I wanted to know if that’s changed over the past three years. Did you feel you had something to prove, and why is this one so important for you?
LeBRON JAMES: I think personally thinking I have something to prove fuels me. It fueled me over this last year and a half since the injury. It fueled me because no matter what I’ve done in my career to this point, there’s still little rumblings of doubt or comparing me to the history of the game and has he done this, has he done that.
So having that in my head, having that in my mind, saying to myself, why not still have something to prove, I think it fuels me.
Q. All the circumstances surrounding this one, being in Orlando, having a four-and-a-half-month hiatus away from family, everything going on in the country, how does that add context to this fourth ring versus the other three?
LeBRON JAMES: I think they are all special in their own right. They all have their obstacles, things that went on throughout the course of the year, both on and off the floor.
But one is not less than the other, because when you’re able to put yourself in this position to be able to win a championship, first thing you start to think about is how much work you’ve put in over the course of the year. How much you’ve sacrificed, how much you’ve dedicated to the game and to your craft. That’s always been the most fulfilling thing for me, besides seeing my teammates as happy as they are. Being able to know that you can put the work in, literally trust the process, live about the process and then see the results. I think not only from a basketball player, but from everybody, whatever craft, whatever workspace you’re in, to be able to put the work in and live along the process and build along the process and be able to see results, I think we all live for that moment.
Q. Could you sense with the mental wear of the bubble that it was getting to other teams? And in the last few days, was there kind of a weird feeling of you’re reaching not just possibly winning a championship but reaching the end of this journey? Did that feel different than the other title runs?
LeBRON JAMES: To answer your first question, with so much going on inside the bubble and everything and us going into the unknown, it was kind of hard for me personally — once I got inside here, I said, okay, this is my mission: I want to win a championship; this is why I’m here. It was hard for me to focus on other teams and what other players were feeling. I didn’t engage in that. I didn’t look for it. I wanted to keep my energy in the right space.
And over the last couple days, you definitely thought about it. You thought about just being here, how successful it is. I commend Adam Silver and the NBA, Michele Roberts, Chris Paul and everybody at the NBPA to make this happen and to make this work. I think we can all say from the social injustice conversations, the voter suppression, police brutality, to have this platform, have our players be able to unite like that, it’s something that you will miss. You will think back on it.
I think one of the biggest things, besides the social injustice, all the things I mentioned, we had zero positive tests. We had zero positives tests for as long as we were here, 90-some days, 95 days maybe for myself. I had a little calendar I was checking off. But on a serious note, no positive tests. That’s a success for everybody that was involved.
Q. What about this partnership that you have with Anthony makes it particularly special to you?
LeBRON JAMES: I can’t really explain it. There’s just certain things you just know. And any type of relationship, you kind of just feel, you know that vibe. You have that respect. You have that drive. Sometimes you can’t explain what links you with somebody, and then it’s that organic.
Sometimes, you don’t even try to explain it. You guys ask me about my relationship with AD, the first thing I think about is the respect, the no ego, the challenging each other. We want each other to be better than actually ourselves. I want AD to be better than me. AD want me to be better than him. Every single night, every single day. And we challenge ourselves. I think that’s a part of it.
Q. With about three minutes left, you looked over and you saw Anthony sitting there, probably the realization of what you guys accomplished hitting him for the first time. I’m wondering, how much of that reminded you of 2012 for you? And what did that first title do for your career and what can this do for AD moving forward?
LeBRON JAMES: It definitely reminded me of it, just the excitement, the “I can’t believe this.” I definitely saw myself, 27 LeBron, 27 AD. I definitely saw myself in that.
And what it did for me in my career, it basically let me know that the work I put in on my craft, and the way I play the game, how I was taught to play the game when I picked up a basketball when I was eight years old, it’s okay to play that way and be able to win. No matter how many people tell you, you should maybe shoot more, you should maybe do this more, you should maybe be like him more, it let me know that the way I play basketball and the way I was taught to play basketball is the right way to play it, because you do see results.
And then it just continues to boost your confidence. Not saying that AD doesn’t already have confidence, but it takes it to another level.
Q. You talk about how you can’t focus on other teams and their bubble experience, but for you outside looking in, it seemed like you were locked in from the beginning of the entire journey to now. I imagine you had your days off the court when it comes to the personal sacrifice, when it comes to keeping this group together. Is that the case? Were there ups and downs? How different is just is this championship feeling?
LeBRON JAMES: To answer your first question, absolutely. I think you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have ups and downs in the bubble. At times I was questioning myself, should I be here? Is this worth sacrificing my family? So many things. I’ve never been without my family this long. Missing the days of my daughter being in kindergarten, even though it’s through Zoom. Missing my son’s 16th birthday, which we all know is a big birthday if you have kids. Seeing my middle child continue to grow and be who he is. First of all, big-time shoutout to the late great Steve Jobs, because without him, without his vision, those FaceTime calls wouldn’t be possible.
Absolutely, I’ve had ups and downs throughout this journey. For some odd reason, I was able to keep the main thing the main thing. When I talked about all the stuff that I missed, they understood that, too, and that made it a lot easier for me.
To answer your second question, it doesn’t matter where it is if you win a championship. A bubble, Miami, Golden State — it doesn’t matter. When you get to this point, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world for a basketball player to be able to win at the highest level.
Q. Does any one of your championships stand out in terms of the difficulty?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I can’t sit here and say one is more challenging than the other or one is more difficult than the other. I can just say that I’ve never won with this atmosphere. None of us have. We’ve never been a part of this. If you’ve been here throughout the start — I mean, we got here July 9th. Our ballclub got here July 9th. It’s October what — I don’t even , October 11th now.
So this was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind. It played with your body. You’re away from some of the things that you’re so accustomed to to make you be the professional that you are. So this is right up there.
I heard some rumblings from people that are not in the bubble, oh, you don’t have to travel, whatever. People just doubting what goes on in here. This is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve had.
Q. When you signed with the Lakers, over the course of the first year, Magic stepping down and everything that went into your start here, was there ever a moment where your mind wandered or you thought maybe the hill would be too high or hard to climb to get back to this point in L.A., or if not, how did you know or what gave you faith that you guys would get here?
LeBRON JAMES: What gave me faith is that Rob Pelinka told me he would do whatever it takes to make sure that we would become a winning franchise once again. Obviously, championships are not promised, and I don’t expect that. But he said he would do whatever it takes to make this franchise, whatever personnel changes he needs to make, any part of our organization, he would do it, because he wanted to win just as much.
And for me, being able to get Jeanie back to this point, that’s something that fueled me as well. This is a historic franchise and to be a part of this is something that I’ll be able to talk about and my grandkids and kids will be able to talk about; their pawpaw played for the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s like playing for the Yankees and winning or playing for the Cowboys and winning a Super Bowl, or the Patriots. It’s like playing for the Red Sox.
So to be able to win with a historical franchise is something that, no matter if your mind wavers away, you can always remember what you’re doing it for.
Q. You and Jeanie shared a long hug right after as the trophy presentation was being prepared. Did you say anything to her?
LeBRON JAMES: I don’t want to lie to you. I did, but if Jeanie at some point would ever want to reveal what I said to her, that’s up to her. It was just a special moment and I know how special it was for her. So it was just in the words of, “I’m proud to be a Laker.”FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
TORONTO FC (1) – FC CINCINNATI (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY
TFC – Patrick Mullins 29’ (Richie Laryea, Alejandro Pozuelo)
TFC – Omar Gonzalez 9’ (caution)
TFC- Jonathan Osorio 21’ (caution)
FCC – Andrew Gutman 66’ (caution)
FCC – Nick Hagglund 67’ (caution)
TFC – Laurent Ciman 72’ (caution)
- With tonight’s victory, Toronto FC becomes the first team in MLS to clinch a playoff spot in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs
- Jayden Nelson made his first MLS regular season start in tonight’s match
TORONTO FC: 11-2-4 37 PTS.
FC CINCINNATI: 3-10-4 13 PTS.
TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Richie Laryea (Tony Gallacher 70’), Omar Gonzalez, Eriq Zavaleta, Auro Jr.; Jonathan Osorio (C), Marky Delgado (Pablo Piatti HT’), Liam Fraser, Jayden Nelson (Nick DeLeon 60’), Alejandro Pozuelo (Laurent Ciman 89’); Patrick Mullins (Ayo Akinola 59’)
Substitutes Not Used: Kevin Silva, Tsubasa Endoh, Erickson Gallardo, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty
FC CINCINNATI – Przemyslaw Tyton (Spencer Richey 81’); Mathieu Deplagne (Andrew Gutman 41’), Maikel van der Werff, Nick Hagglund, Saad Abdul-Salaam; Frankie Amaya (Kamohelo Mokotjo HT’), Haris Medunjanin (C), Yuya Kubo; Joseph-Claude Gyau, Brandon Vazquez (Siem de Jong HT’), Alvaro Barreal (Allan Cruz 64’)
Substitutes Not Used: Robert Edwards, Zico Bailey, Caleb Stanko
GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC
There was a fair bit of excitement in stoppage time. What was your take on the penalty non call and then the somewhat dangerous back pass?
“The back pass was nonsense. I’ll just leave it at that. The penalty…the ball was crossed in and Omar had a good line on the ball. His eyes were on the ball and he was attacking the ball. At the same time their player was moving backwards, trying to get to the ball, so I think our guy had the initial position. Their player runs into our player as he’s trying to get to it, and he goes down. That shouldn’t be a foul on us if we’re in the right spot. So that that was my read on it and they must’ve seen what they saw as well. But it was a little fuzzy there for a few minutes for sure and we definitely had a bit of tired legs. Things weren’t super sharp on the turf, a lot of balls bouncing up on us, again, like the other night in New England. Just the weight of the passes sometimes is wrong and or the ball comes a lot faster than we think. And we’re not quite prepared for it. Little things like that, but we are playing these games so close together. There’s some rotation and the lineup tonight and guys just had to compete and work it out and get the three points. And they saw it out.”
What are your thoughts on the significance of clinching the playoffs here at this stage given the long list of challenges you’re facing?
“I know the guys are proud of it, but they have their eyes on something a little bit bigger here over this stretch. And so, it’s nice to have the playoff spot, but we’re in that position where I know our guys … we don’t talk about it … but they’re looking at the fact that they’re at the top of the. table and competing every play to try to stay there. But really proud of the group. To stay focused, there’s lots of challenges here, not just for us but for everybody. But some special challenges for us for sure and the guys are staying focused. They’re giving it every single day for each other and that’s huge. When you’re getting good results and competing like this, then it makes the difficult times a little bit easier. And so, we’ve been able to manage to do it the right way. So, we’ve got a tough two games ahead of us. This was the hump game, if you will, in the middle of this thing and now we’ve got to turn around in three days and play again, with a little shorter rest. So, we’ve just got to regroup and keep battling.”
Would you say this was a tough, workmanlike performance?
“I’d say so. I mean we weren’t fantastic with the ball, for sure. At times we were rushing things. In the first half we were a little all over the place with our movement. We weren’t getting the runs and the positioning that we needed to, and we wanted to. It got to be a little bit random and so because of that, and just with the turf, and maybe a little bit of fatigue, we were losing too many balls between our lines that then turned into transitions. And when you lose a ball between the lines you have to transition you have to work double hard in recovery and the field starts to get long. So, I think it starts to wear on us over the course of the game, which really kind of made it a grind. We didn’t hold the ball as much as we needed to, and that would have brought the tempo down. There were a few stretches where we were able to, but not enough over the course of the game for us to really manage the tempo the way we’d like to. But we defended hard. We protected our goal. They didn’t have a lot of great looks. Obviously, some crosses that we had to deal with. So, we defended well nevertheless.”
JONATHAN OSORIO – MIDFIELDER, TORONTO FC
Thoughts on being the first team to clinch a playoff spot…
“It just goes to show how great of a club this is and the mentality that we have here to keep going no matter what’s thrown at us. Obviously, there’s been a lot of obstacles that have been thrown to every team in the league. Us, here at Toronto, we have dealt with that in the best possible way from top to bottom and it just goes to show on the field when we’re getting results. The team has such good character and guys that have experienced so much in the last several years so, we believe here, we know what we’re capable of, we have high expectations for ourselves now and I think to clinch a playoff spot so early, to be the first ones in the league to clinch, with everything going on it’s a huge compliment and says a lot about this club.”
Last three road games were all 1-0 victories what does that say about the team and your ability to find different ways to win games?
“Yeah I think especially in these last two games, there’s a lot of different factors that made them both very difficult games whether it was the field condition, little bit of tired legs, guys coming back from injury, guys trying to avoid injury it’s been tough but we’ve been able to grind and like I said just shows the character and mentality we have here. We know that we’re able to score goals and obviously we want to score more than one goal in a game, but I think championship DNA you have to be able to win 1-0. This is the way games are sometimes in the playoffs and you have to grind it out and defensively you have to be really sharp, I think this is really good for us right now and this is showing us we can do this and gets us ready for when we go into the playoffs.”
Greg gave some guys like Mullins, Zavaleta and Liam a chance to start tonight, what did you think of the way the guys that haven’t played a lot played tonight?
“Amazing. I think everybody who stepped in did their part and exactly what was asked of them and more. Amazing by everyone who came in, Jayden also came in and did a great job for us. Zav, Pat and then Liam with me in the middle, all great jobs by them to come in, having not had a lot of minutes and coming into a difficult game and grinding that result, it’s not easy and they did an amazing job. Like I said championship teams have depth, when your depth is called upon and they’re always ready to perform. We’re really happy right now with where we’re at as a team and the results we’re getting and the performance of everybody who’s getting called upon. It’s been really good.”
You’ve worn the captain’s armband for a few games, do you have a different understanding of what that means to wear the armband now that you’ve had experience with it?
“Yeah for sure. Like I’ve said I’ve been learning every game that I’ve have it on. Getting put in different situations and trying to get the best of everybody on the team. Now I understand how that feels in that role, it’s actually helped me understand more of what Mike has done all these years and it’s opened my eyes to how good of a job he’s done for this club. Being in that role has made me appreciate even more than I already did of what Mike has done for the club and also has helped me to learn to try and get the best out of your teammates in different situations, trying to find what the team needs and what you need to emphasize in certain games. It’s a good learning experience for me and I’ll keep learning every time that I get a chance to wear it.”
-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-
TORONTO FC CLINCHES SPOT IN 2020 AUDI MLS CUP PLAYOFFS
Toronto FC has become the first team in Major League Soccer to clinch a playoff berth in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, following tonight’s 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati. This marks the club’s fifth playoff appearance in the past six seasons.
Toronto FC currently sit atop the standings for both the Supporters’ Shield and Eastern Conference with a record of 11-2-4 and 37 points from 17 matches. The Reds have six matches remaining in the regular season. Next week, TFC will host the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, October 14 and Atlanta United FC on Sunday, October 18 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The Reds will then travel to Philadelphia to meet the Union, followed by home matches with New York City FC and Inter Miami CF, before concluding the regular season on Sunday, November 8 at Red Bull Arena against the Red Bulls in MLS Decision Day.
The 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs will consist of single-elimination matches following a bracket format with MLS Cup set for Saturday, December 12.