As purple and gold confetti streamed down onto LeBron James, he thought about Anthony Davis.
When Davis was traded to the Lakers from the New Orleans Pelicans last summer, James wanted to take the 27-year old, who had never been past the second round of the playoffs, further than he'd ever gone in his career.
Sitting on the court after leading the Lakers to their first NBA Finals in 10 years, James felt a sense of pride.
"This is the reason why I wanted to be a teammate of his and why I brought him here," James said after the Lakers' 117-107 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday. "I wanted him to see things that he had not seen before in this league. To be able to come through for him meant a lot for me personally."
James and Davis immediately connected on many levels this season.
They are close friends off the court, who have dinners at each other's homes and share late night glasses of wine after games.
They tease each other like brothers, with James joking he can read Davis' emotions by looking his unibrow, and Davis making fun of James for being an old man.
And on the court, there's a deep brotherhood.
"When I first got here, he told me that he wants to give me my first ring," Davis said. "And I told him I want to get him back to The Finals."
It's been a symbiotic relationship ever since, with them alternating taking over quarters throughout the playoffs to lead the 16-time NBA champion Lakers back to a position where they can compete for the league's throne.
In Saturday's game, after Davis made two big three-pointers at the end of the third quarter and midway through the fourth, James did the heavy lifting down the stretch. He scored nine-straight points in the final 4 minutes to finish with 16 of his 38 points in the final period.
"In games like this, you know, missed a couple shots, he takes over and it's [that way] throughout the entire series," Davis said. "Every playoff series we've been in, either he takes over, [or] I take over at one point to just kind of get the team going. But, you know, we don't want to let each other down. We know why I came here. We want to win a championship."
Throughout the postseason, Davis has leaned on James for guidance.
When Davis has gotten disappointed in himself after what he deems to be a subpar performance, James helps him shake it off and recalibrate.
He tells him that it's only one game. He cheers him up. He gives him space. He's there for him.
In his 17th season in the league, James has embraced the role of mentor. It's a new challenge for him and one that he finds deeply gratifying and rewarding.
"I guess it was a very, very, very, very long time ago, when I was 27, like a long-ass time ago when I was 27 in this league," James said. "I just wanted to put myself kind of in his position. Sometimes what I would be thinking at that age and if I was with someone in the later stage of their career, I just don't want to let them down. And I'm not even talking on the floor, because there's things that sometimes they go in, they don't go in. But as far as, I don't want to say a role model, but someone that holds myself to a higher standard as far as character. I don't want to let them down. And then it's funny because it's kind of rubbed off on me as well because he doesn't want to let me down."
It's a beautiful rapport.
And James is not above poking fun at it.
James jokingly compared their relationship to the 2008 comedy film "Step Brothers," in which actors Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly play middle-aged men still living at home who become roommates after their parents marry.
A reporter then asked James if he's Ferrell in that dynamic.
"Yeah, I'm Will Ferrell, for sure," James said with a laugh. "I get on his nerves a lot."
Davis said he'd agree with that characterization under one condition.
"If he wants to be Will Farrell then that's fine, but as long as he gives me four more wins," Davis said.