For the 17th time in franchise history, the Lakers are NBA champions.
Los Angeles cruised to a 106–93 victory over the Heat in Game 6 on Sunday night to give the team its first title since 2010. The Lakers suffered a heartbreaking loss in Game 5 in the final seconds, but Sunday's game was decisive nearly from the opening tip.
The Lakers led, 28–20, at the end of the first quarter, then outscored the Heat 36-16 in the second to secure a 64–36 halftime lead. Their defense completely suffocated the Heat, who shot 35-for-79 (43.6%) from the field and 13-for-22 (59.1%) from the free-throw line.
LeBron James cemented his G.O.A.T. claim by winning his fourth career NBA Finals MVP Award, trailing only Michael Jordan, who earned the honor six times. James finished the night with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, extending his record of career triple-doubles in the NBA Finals to 11. Anthony Davis had 19 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
The Lakers' championship comes amid a turbulent 2020 season for the franchise and the NBA. In January, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers died in a helicopter crash. Two months later, the NBA suddenly shut down due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The league returned in July after setting up a bubble on Disney's campus in Orlando with strict COVID-19 protocols to keep players and staff members safe. Throughout the grueling season, the focus displayed by James, Davis and the team separated them from the rest of the league.
To help celebrate this historic moment from the Lakers, check out Sports Illustrated's commemorative covers of the NBA Finals champs and the Sports Illustrated commemorative issue.