The streets of Los Angeles have been overtaken by a sea of purple and gold as Lakers fans celebrate their team winning a historic 17th NBA championship.
Images and videos of jam-packed streets have flooded social media as many fear the scenes could send the city into lockdown.
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Coronavirus cases in America have sat around the 50,000 per-day mark over the past five days, but that hasn’t stopped Lakers fans from flooding the streets.
As thousands revelled in the victory, many were left worrying the celebrations would spiral into a devastating COVID outbreak.
Josh Peter of USA Today reported many out celebrating were wearing masks, although social distancing wasn’t necessarily being adhered to.
“The scene was mostly peaceful but beyond boisterous,” he wrote. “A few men clambered up construction-site scaffolding — about 50 feet in the air — and waved a Lakers flag. A few drivers burned rubber, sending thick smoke into the air. On some streets, traffic was at a standstill for about an hour.”
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Lakers fans were out in force.Source:Getty Images
Lakers fans of all ages went down.Source:Getty Images
Kobe Bryant was represented by fans.Source:Getty Images
The LA Times reported that fans were chanting “Kobe, Kobe” and that “A big crowd took over the intersection of Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court, dancing and jumping and setting off smoke bombs in purple and gold”.
The Times report also quoted LA Police Department chief Vito Palazzolo, who said “we hope people celebrate at home”.
There were some scenes as police attempted to disperse the crowd and blocked the entrance to Staples Centre “including some holding weapons used to fire so-called less-lethal projectiles”, the LA Times reported.
There were also scenes of revellers kicking police cars as they tried to get the crowd to disperse.
The scenes have lit up social media with some worried about the spread of COVID-19 in the crowd.
Haven’t seen traffic like this in LA since the pandemic started. And if all these people continue going downtown with no masks or distancing, the pandemic may never end. Contracting a potentially deadly virus is not a good way to commemorate your team’s title.
Outside of Staples Center. Police are directing fans to stay on the sidewalk: https://t.co/OeCnE0pNql pic.twitter.com/5pysM9mRRn
The Lakers beat the Heat, not Covid. https://t.co/mOrT1lg2oE
#NOW: Lakers fans are getting rowdy in downtown LA as they celebrate the big win. @abc7chriscristi is overhead and we are live on @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/eC7fpY551D
After six years in the NBA wilderness, LeBron James and the LA Lakers have finally claimed the franchises 17th NBA championship to draw level with the Boston Celtics.
It was a season that the Lakers almost had to win with the mammoth signing of Anthony Davis, the second year of James and the untimely death of Kobe Bryant all setting the team on track to end a 10-year title drought.
It was Bryant who brought the last title to LA in 2009-10, and Lakers fans have started a party a decade in the making.
Fans were out in force at the Staples Centre with USA Today reporting thousands of fans wearing Lakers shirts, waving flags and setting off fireworks as they celebrated the Lakers’ 106-93 win over the Miami Heat to take out the NBA title in the strangest of years.
In normal years a brand new NBA season would be about to get underway, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a season suspension that will push the start of the 2020-21 season back until at least Christmas Day.
In the bubble it was just as wild.
As the celebrations kicked off, the Lakers forgot 27-year old guard Quinn Cook as the team left the stadium and headed back to the party in the bubble.
1. They left Quin Cook at the arena
2. Dion Waiters is COMEDY pic.twitter.com/8jxQxTgDhK
The Lakers were quickly into the celebrations with videos coming out thick and fast.
LMAO AD drunk as hell haha 😂 I mean CHAMP is drunk as hell 😎🔥
The Lakers postgame party is underway in the bubble pic.twitter.com/TrfL48mQ0o
There are going to be some sore heads in the days to come as the Lakers soak in NBA title number 17.
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