LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Lakers' 17th championship banner from the 2019-20 NBA season was unveiled at Staples Center on Wednesday ahead of their regular-season home finale against the Houston Rockets.
Last October, the Lakers were victorious against Miami in the NBA Finals in an unprecedented season that included the loss of the legendary Kobe Bryant, a temporary pause to the season at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and a social justice movement.
Despite Miami’s best efforts and remarkable performances by Jimmy Butler, the Lakers were crowned champions in game six of the series, without fans amid coronavirus restrictions, in the NBA Bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
LeBron James was named Finals MVP, marking his fourth. James is also the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different franchises.
During the offseason, LA lost some members of its championship squad including Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Danny Green, and Quinn Cook, while adding key members such as Dennis Schroder, Marc Gasol and former Clipper Montrezl Harrell.
While the 2020-21 NBA season started off promising for the men in purple and gold, it took a turn after being plagued with injuries.
All-Star Anthony Davis missed 30 games due to injuries to his right calf and heel and LeBron James suffered an ankle injury in a game against Atlanta.
Currently, the Lakers are ranked seventh in the Western Conference, which means they will have to battle in the play-in tournament against the eighth seed. As of Wednesday, they would play the Golden State Warriors who are gaining momentum led by MVP contender Steph Curry's historic offense.
Despite their challenges, the Lakers are also gaining momentum. Davis had a remarkable 42-point game in a pivotal game against Phoenix and the Lakers also beat the New York Knicks Tuesday night.
The 2021 NBA playoffs are set to begin on Saturday, May 22.