On This Day: May 12, 2021 – Lakers Hang Banner No. 17

One year ago today, the Lakers celebrated a league-leading 17th NBA title in front of the Laker faithful. While it may not have been a packed house, this marked the first time fans were allowed in the building following the strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols that prevented any capacity of live attendance.

The 2020 NBA Championship run was nothing short of spectacular and unique. From a pause in play during the regular season in mid-March to contending for the Larry O’Brien Trophy inside the Orlando Bubble, the Purple and Gold posted a 16-5 record with series wins over Portland, Houston, Denver, and Miami.

While it was anything less than a sell-out crowd (only 4,087 fans were allowed following league protocols), Lakers President Jeanie Buss along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis acknowledged those inside STAPLES Center (now under its new name Crypto.com Arena) emphasizing the patience to host the extraordinary milestone in front of Lakers Nation.

“We’ve waited until now because our banners have always been about our fans,” Buss stated. “It’s so good to hear you guys and be together as family again. Our final piece of business to commemorate our 2020 championship is to honor our fans with the banner.”

“We would not send this banner to the rafters without you guys,” James said. “I know we’re missing a lot of our Laker faithful, but this is absolutely for you guys. We said we would not reveal this banner until we had fans in the seats. This is your moment.”

With a smile from cheek to cheek, Anthony Davis couldn’t hide his clear pleasure of looking up and seeing the newest edition in the rafters.

“What a feeling,” Davis expressed. “I never thought I’d be raising one of these banners. And it’s all because of you guys.”

Even without any fans inside the NBA Bubble, Davis hailed Lakers fans who were seen on the screens during the playoffs and their support even prior to the hiatus.

Following the reveal, the Lakers came away with a thrilling, 124-122, victory over the Houston Rockets. In a game that did not feature James or AD in the lineup, the Lakers scored a franchise-record 86 points in the paint, breaking the old mark of 82 points set against the same Rockets team back in 2017.