LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, was one of the first to congratulate the Lakers after they crushed the Miami Heat in Game 6 to secure their record-tying 17th title Sunday night.
Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram to share a photo of current Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Kobe Bryant. Pelinka was Bryant’s longtime agent prior to joining the Lakers organization.
“Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations Lakers,” Vanessa Bryant wrote. “Kobe was right, RP! ‘Stay the course– blockout the noise.’ Wish Kobe and Gigi were here to see this.”
Kobe lead the Lakers to a staggering five NBA titles between 2000 and 2010. On Jan. 26, Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in the Calabasas hills amid heavy fog.
The Lakers dedicated their playoff run to Kobe, donning his ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys several times in his honor.
“To Laker Nation, we have been through a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe Bryant,” Lakers owner Jeannie Buss said Sunday night. “Let this trophy serve as a remind of when we can come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen.”
Thousands of fans gathered outside Staples Center after the win to honor Kobe’s memory and the Lakers championship.
“Los Angeles really needed this, it’s been a rollercoaster for everybody around the world,” Lakers fan Gregory Paul told CBSLA. “I don’t know if everybody believes in guardian angels, but I think Kobe definitely has a soft spot for the Lakers forever and ever.”
In August, the L.A. City Council introduced a motion to rename a stretch of Figueroa Street in downtown L.A. to Kobe Bryant Boulevard. Staples Center is often given the moniker the “House that Kobe built” because it opened in 1999, just a few years into Bryant’s career.