“We’ve come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good. I have to celebrate you, baby. I have to praise you like I should.” That’s how Fatboy Slim would have put things into perspective in the wake of the biggest showdown in NBA history, again. Again because the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, is one of the most celebrated, akin to Man United vs Liverpool or here in America, the Red Sox vs the Yankees.
The words fit into to place perfectly from multiple perspectives. For both teams, it has been a long, hard road to the finals, and the deciding game of the seven match series, things went down to the very last seconds. In the end, backed by a home crowd that was quiet for the most part, but woke up in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lakers, with all their big guns firing, powered home to a narrow 83-79 win to bag their 16th NBA title.
Between the Lakers and the Celtics, they now have 33 NBA Championships out of a total of 64. Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson took home his his 11th Championship ring as coach as head coach, and 12th overall (he won one as a reserve with the Knicks in 1973).
It was a second consecutive title for the Lakers, and immediately there was talk of Phil Jackson winning titles in threes. The coach however said his decision to stay on in Los Angeles was a difficult one; one that he would make in the coming week. It was also the fifth title and second Most Valuable Player award for Kobe Bryant who said, “I have told him (Jackson) how important it is for him to stay, and that I want him to stay. Let’s go for it again.”
Ten minutes after winning the Championship, already the talk was of winning another. That was the hunger, missing from the Celtics and proved the difference between the two.