Lakers: Public celebration on hold amid pandemic

The 17th NBA title in Lakers franchise history is still fresh in the minds of their fans, but any public celebration of it in Los Angeles will have to wait.

The Lakers announced Monday that due to safety precautions related to COVID-19, the team will hold off on any type of public celebration of the team’s feat.

“We cannot wait to celebrate our NBA title with our fans,” the Lakers said. “After consulting with the City and the County, we all agree that a joyful and inclusive public celebration will take place as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, thank you again, Lakers Nation, for your support!”

The Lakers beat the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, concluding their 95-day stay in the league’s bubble.

The team returned to Los Angeles on Monday, tweeting pictures of the arrival.

About 1,000 people gathered downtown to celebrate the team’s victory in the hours after Sunday’s game, with some heading to Staples Center, the team’s home court. The gathering was initially largely peaceful but “unruly individuals” mixed into the crowd and threw glass, bottles, rocks and other projectiles at officers, leading to 76 arrests, police said.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had discouraged public gatherings to celebrate the win, instead urging fans to cheer on the team from home.

“As we cheer our @Lakers’ 17th championship, please remember it’s still not safe to gather in groups,” the mayor tweeted, in reference to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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