MID-CITY (CBSLA) — Still chasing the high of the Lakers’ Sunday night win, fans from all over Southern California are looking for ways to celebrate the franchise’s 17th title — many flocking to a Mid-City mural honoring the team’s legacy.
“It just touches on everything we’ve all gone through this year,” Matthew Velasquez, a fan, said.
The painting features all 18 members of the championship team and their coach, but on the backs of their jerseys and on the signs of the fans in the background are messages of a movement.
“I love how [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver, LeBron [James], [Lakers President] Jeannie Buss, [Lakers Vice President] Rob Pelinka, the whole Lakers organization made sure to keep that focus on, ‘We need to be better, the world needs to be better,'” fan William Tan said.
Throughout the season, the team made it clear that they were more than just athletes, something artist Gus Zermeno wanted to honor with the mural.
“It doesn’t represent just basketball,” he said. “It just represents being the best person you can be, and with 2020, it’s really waking a lot of people up to not just the social injustice, but being aware of family and friends and what’s really important.”
Zermeno finished the main part of the mural, titled “Leave A Legacy,” at the beginning of the playoffs. After Game 5, he added the 16 championship trophies.
When the Lakers clenched their first title in a decade on Sunday, he added Laker legend Kobe Bryant on top, looking over the team while holding their latest trophy.
“Kobe is definitely with us I believe still,” Zermeno said.
And though Bryant hasn’t played a game since his 2016 retirement, fans believe his spirit helped push the team to greatness.
“He still gave them the drive to deliver for the city,” Velasquez said. “And they did.”