Last night, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games to take home their 17th title and their first finals win in a decade. For many, the win belonged to Kobe Bryant, who passed away earlier this year and had spent his entire career with the Lakers.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine passengers who died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles in January. "Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him, and we didn’t let him down," explained his former teammate Anthony Davis. Watch his speech below.
Davis continued: “I know he's looking down on us, proud of us. I know Vanessa's proud of us, the organization's proud of us... It means a lot to us. It's a tough moment, man. He was a big brother to all of us."
The late basketball star's widow, Vanessa Bryant, hailed the Lakers' 106-93 victory over the Miami Heat, too. In an Instagram Story, she wrote: “Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations Lakers. Kobe was right, RP! ‘Stay the course — blockout the noise’” and, “Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this.”
Earlier this month, the Lakers paid tribute to their late teammate when they wore jerseys designed by the 18-time All Star for Game 5 of the NBA finals. They also used his nickname when breaking huddles during the playoffs, shouting “1-2-3 Mamba!” In another tribute, when Anthony Davis hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, he yelled “Kobe!”