Even in a city with such a rich sporting pedigree as Los Angeles, October 2020 will go down in history. In just over two weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers claimed their first NBA title in a decade before the Los Angeles Dodgers ended their 32-year wait for a World Series title on Tuesday night.
The coronavirus pandemic, however, meant that both triumphs came about under highly unusual circumstances. The Lakers won their 17th NBA title behind closed doors in Orlando, Florida, and not in front of a noisy Staples Center, while the Dodgers played all six of their World Series games in front of a limited capacity audience at the Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Frustrating for the players is that neither the Lakers nor the Dodgers will join their predecessors from the past and enjoy a triumphant reception through the streets of Los Angeles.
The disappointment of having missed a parade is especially great for LeBron James, who called for a joint celebration for the Lakers and Dodgers.
“Man, can we PLEASE have a parade!!!! I know, I know we can’t, but damn it, I want to celebrate with our Lakers and Dodgers fans!!!! LA is the city of CHAMPIONS,” the four-time NBA champion tweeted.
Man, can we PLEASE have a parade!!!! I know, I know we can’t, but damn it, I want to party with our @Lakers & @Dodgers fans!! LA is the town of the CHAMPIONS ðð
– LeBron James (@KingJames) October 28, 2020
But as James, who won a fourth NBA title and a fourth NBA Final MVP two weeks ago, admitted himself, the prospect of fans gathering en masse to celebrate a title – or for any other reason for that matter – remains unlikely in the foreseeable future due to the pandemic.
After the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games two weeks ago, the franchise hinted that some kind of public celebration would take place as soon as the health authorities deemed the Lakers safe.
“We can’t wait to celebrate our NBA title with our fans,” the Lakers said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“After consultation with the city and county, we all agree that a joyful and inclusive public celebration will take place as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Dodgers responded to James’ plea for a joint celebration, but like the Lakers, they will follow local authority guidelines and put the parade on hold for the time being.
While neither the Lakers nor the Dodgers will be officially honored with a parade for a while, that hasn’t stopped the fans from flocking to the streets to celebrate their respective triumphs.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, more than 1,000 Lakers fans took to the streets around Staples Center two weeks ago, while Dodgers fans gathered outside Dodgers Stadium on Tuesday night to celebrate.
Officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have warned that the parties that Lakers fans held to celebrate their NBA title are likely responsible for the recent rise in corona virus cases in Los Angeles County, which has seen the average number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases per day rise from about 900 per day at the beginning of the month to about 1,200 per day.
“While fans continue to watch and celebrate the mighty LA sports teams, we recognize that the number of cases will continue to rise if individuals do not follow health officials’ orders of distance, infection control and masking, which unfortunately not only leads to increased illness and death, but also slows our recovery journey,” the agency said Monday in a statement released by USA Today.
“It is impossible to determine the exact exposures that have contributed to this increase. However, it is very likely that meetings where the Lakers were observed and/or celebrated, along with all other meetings held 2-3 weeks ago where people were not wearing face coverings and were in close contact with each other, contributed to the increase in cases in the LA County”.