The Lakers overcame a 13-point loss in the third quarter to defeat the Boston Celtics, 83 to 79 Thursday night, in the final Game 7 of the NBA Finals at Staples Center, winning their second consecutive championship. Many stars were present, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, and Penny Marshall, among more.
The Lakers celebration parade will begin on Monday at 11 a.m. at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, and travel south on Figueroa Street, to Jefferson Boulevard, where the parade will turn East at the Galen Center to complete the procession. City and team officials anticipate a crowd of between 500,000 to one million fans lining the two mile parade route. The city will be spending at least 1 million dollars on extra police and emergency services for the Monday parade
Players will be on a customized flat-bed float. A motorcade of double-decker, open topped buses, as well as other vehicles will carry the Laker coaches and staff, members of the Buss family, which owns the team, and the Laker Girls dance team among more. City officials are encouraging the public to take the Metro train instead of driving.
Last year, on June 14, 2009, the Lakers also won the NBA championship with a victory in Florida against the Orlando Magic. That night in Los Angeles, there was a riot outside of Staples Center, where the Lakers play.
During the various celebrations last year in Los Angeles, a shoe store was broken into with all of its merchandise stolen, a mass transit train was damaged, a gas station was looted, many LAPD patrol vehicles were damaged, fires were started, and six city buses were vandalized. Numerous LAPD officers were hurt, and many were arrested. Numerous city blocks were strewn with overturned garbage cans, with trash littered into the streets and on sidewalks, graffiti tagged, rocks hurled through windows, and other forms of destruction took place.
As fans hit the streets this year to celebrate, downtown Los Angeles became chaos Thursday night shortly after the Lakers win at 9pm. Nearly two hours after the game, constant honking of horns filled the air between shouting and yelling of drunken, out of control fans. Injuries were reported during the first hour after the game, and within under the second hour, a taxicab had been started on fire, with local news ABC 7 showing it explode in flames.
According to The Los Angeles Fire Departments’ Brian Humphry, multiple victims had been treated by paramedics outside the Staples Center Thursday night. With over five times more Los Angeles police on duty across the city than last year, many arrests took place, from East L.A., to downtown, and beyond. Helicopters flew over downtown Los Angeles non-stop since early afternoon Thursday up until just before midnight. The Los Angeles Times reported that in addition to fires and bottles thrown, at least one person was beaten by Lakers fans in to a state of unconsciousness.
Just as last year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged people to stay home unless they had tickets to the game, but many thousands of fans without tickets still showed up. Staples Center holds less than twenty thousand, and while the celebrities and other well guarded VIP’s got out and away safely, for others downtown and in other parts of Los Angeles, it was not a safe night to be outdoors, with a small percent of drunken, idiotic, crazed fans displaying more insanity, than team pride. Hopefully, Thursday night will have resulted in no deaths, while destruction is a given. At least we know that this night, the City of Boston must have been calm.