Co-cook Hilary and I walked over to the Felix gas station on the corner of Jefferson and Figueroa to celebrate the Lakers’ NBA Finals victory with the masses on June 21, our first Monday in Los Angeles.
As a Sacramento Kings fan, I expected it would be difficult to enjoy myself in a sea of purple and yellow. However, it was impossible to avoid the great community pride on display at the southernmost of the parade route, where we watched buses of basketball players raising the golden basketball trophy above their heads creep past onlookers behind a tall fence.
Some reports highlighted the negative outcomes of the repeat title celebrations, but the title unquestionably gave south Los Angeles residents reason to take pride in their town. Fans shouted cheers of “LA all day” and slurs against the hated Boston Celtics, walking with the swagger of their repeat champion heroes.
The parade route offered a large gathering place for a diverse community of many residents and independent groups. Fans of all sizes and colors lined the streets well before the caravan of basketball players arrived and numerous vendors took advantage of the huge crowds to peddle their refreshments and souvenirs.
The crowd dispersed quickly after the final team bus passed through the intersection on the University of Southern California campus. Fans chanted on the way back to their cars, homes and jobs as an exodus of Kobe poured through major streets, halting construction workers until the waves of people passed.
“Now the party’s in the streets,” said a man wearing the No. 8 Kobe jersey after the parade had ended.
I wish the celebration would never end.
View LA Lakers victory parade in a larger map