It was a glorious win, despite the gut wrenching moments of fear that surely filled the bellies of many Lakers fans as L.A.’s team fought back from the Boston Celtic’s 13-point lead in the 3rd-quarter to capture their second NBA championship in a row and 16th title overall on Thursday night.
For some the win was a reason to be unruly and to act badly, as if they had earned some right to “let of steam” and tell the world, ‘Hey look at me, I can do whatever I want and you can’t stop me!”
Win or lose, their actions would have been the same: causing trouble just because they could.
While their numbers may have seemed many, the vandals were really just a small number compared to the thousands who chose not to destroy property or throw things at police, or give a hard time to the poor taxi drivers just trying to make a buck.
On Monday, Angelenos will have another chance to celebrate their hometown team’s victory. If all goes well, it will be another repeat for the Lakers and their fans: a parade free of violence.
There was a moment or two of speculation that the city’s tight budget might not make a parade possible, but the Lakers’ organization was not about to let that happen, and will pick up the tab, covering the entire cost for police and traffic control.
The victory parade will begin at 11 a.m. at Staples Center and travel south on Figueroa Street and end just north of Jefferson Boulevard, not far from Galen Center.
Unlike last year’s parade, which was followed by a celebration complete with speeches and Laker Girl performances at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, there will be no post-parade event on Monday.
City and Laker officials anticipate a crowd of between 500,000 and 2 million fans lining the two-mile parade route, according to John Black, the team’s vice president of public relations.
Players will ride on a customized flat-bed float, equipped with audio capabilities, which will help mitigate anticipated pedestrian and traffic congestion, Black said.
A convoy of double-decker, open-air buses and other vehicles will carry Laker coaches and staff, members of the Buss family, which owns the team, team officials and the Laker Girls dance team, Black said.
City officials were encouraging the public to take the Metro Rail system to the Pico/Chick Hearn Station adjacent to the parade route.
City Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes downtown Los Angeles, said the Lakers organization has agreed to shoulder the costs were still being determined today, but she estimated that the breakdown would be roughly:
—$80,000 for Fire Department services;
—more than $5,000 for General Services;
—about $10,000 for the Information Technology agency;
—more than $1 million for the Police Department;
—less than $2,000 for sanitation and cleanup; and
—less than $4,000 for street services.
She said the placement of K-rails for crowd control would be about $150,000.
City News Service reports used in this story.