LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles Lakers, fresh off winning the 2020 NBA Championships, landed at LAX Monday after three months in the NBA bubble.
The team flew SwiftAir from Florida to Los Angeles and arrived home at about 1 p.m. Los Angeles Fire Department trucks were on hand at LAX to shoot water over the team’s plane in greeting.
The team wrapped up the unprecedented NBA finals, which typically takes place in June, in a Sunday night Game 6 against the Miami Heat.
— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) October 12, 2020
The team’s arrival Monday is the first time the team has been back in Los Angeles since the NBA restarted play in July. The season was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
When the NBA restarted the season, the league did so with elaborate and expensive safety guidelines. The abbreviated playoff season restarted with just 22 teams, and all games played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Fla. There were no fans admitted into the bubble to cheer on any of the teams.
“Sometimes you win the championship on the road, the opposing team’s town, but you didn’t even have any sort of fan reaction for this,” KCAL 9’s Jaime Maggio said. “And Kobe Bryant used to say he loved the haters, he loved the people that would boo him. But in this case, they were at a neutral site for both teams and to win it, and not even have all of your family around to celebrate with you, to now be able to bring it back to Los Angeles, and to have this moment and be welcomed back by the city is pretty special for these guys.”
Players were tested before being allowed into the bubble. The point of the bubble was to protect the teams from the COVID-19 pandemic, but players who broke the safety protocols – like Los Angeles Clipper player Lou Williams, who visited a strip club while in Atlanta to attend a funeral – were required to quarantine in order to rejoin his team on the court. Players’ families were also required to quarantine in order to join the bubble after the first round.
Typically, a parade through downtown L.A. would follow a Lakers championship win. But with coronavirus pandemic still raging in much of California, Los Angeles city officials have not announced any plans for a fan celebration with the team.