In just his second season in Los Angeles, LeBron James guided the Lakers to an NBA championship. The Lakers knocked off the Miami Heat in six games after a blowout victory in Game 6. LeBron posted a triple-double in Game 6 with 28 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. In addition, LeBron took home the NBA Finals MVP award.

Miami Heat LA Lakers win NBA championship LeBron James MVP
The Los Angeles Lakers celebrate winning the 2020 NBA Championship after defeating the Miami Heat in six games. (Image: AP)

The Lakers won their 17th NBA championship as a franchise to tie the Boston Celtics for most titles in NBA history.

“It means a lot,” said LeBron. “It means a lot to represent this franchise. I told Jeanie (Buss) when I came here that I was going to put this franchise back to where it belongs.”

LeBron locked up the 12th championship for the storied franchise in the City of Angels. The Minneapolis Lakers won the title five times between 1949 and 1954 before moving to Los Angeles in 1960.

LeBron locked up his fourth NBA championship. He won back-to-back titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, and secured the city of Cleveland a long-awaited championship with a title run in 2016.

LeBron won his fourth NBA Finals MVP while averaging 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game against the Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals.

Every time LeBron’s won an NBA championship, he’s also won the NBA Finals MVP. Michael Jordan won the NBA Finals MVP six times, but LeBron is tied for second with four.

The Path to a Championship

The Lakers started the NBA season on Oct. 22, 2019, and including the pandemic-induced shutdown and delay, they finished the season on Oct. 11, 2020.

The Lakers came into this season as one of three co-favorites with the LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were on pace to win 70 games before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the season in March. At the time of the shutdown, the Lakers had the best record in the Western Conference, and second-best record overall.

The Lakers finished the season 52-19, securing the #1 seed in the west. They went 16-5 in the postseason and never lost more than one game in a row.

The Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 4-1 in the first round. Damian Lillard and the Blazers won Game 1 before the Lakers won four games in a row to advance.

In the west semifinals, the Lakers knocked out the Houston Rockets in five games. The Rockets won Game 1, and the Lakers won four in a row to advance.

In the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers needed only five games to defeat the Denver Nuggets.

In the NBA Finals, the Lakers won the first two games to take a 2-0 lead. Jimmy Butler exploded for a 40-point triple-double to secure a Game 3 victory for the Heat. The Lakers won Game 4 and took a 3-1 series lead. Butler and the Heat faded elimination with a victory in Game 5 after he unleashed another 35-point triple-double. In Game 6, however, the Heat looked gassed.

21st Century Champions

The LA Lakers started the 21st century with a three-peat. Phil Jackson guided the Shaq and Kobe Lakers to titles in 2000, 2001, and 2002. Kobe won back-to-back titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

NBA CHAMPIONS (Since 2000)
  • 2020 LA Lakers
  • 2019 Toronto Raptors
  • 2018 Golden State Warriors
  • 2017 Golden State Warriors
  • 2016 Cleveland Cavs
  • 2015 Golden State Warriors
  • 2014 San Antonio Spurs
  • 2013 Miami Heat
  • 2012 Miami Heat
  • 2011 Dallas Mavericks
  • 2010 LA Lakers
  • 2009 LA Lakers
  • 2008 Boston Celtics
  • 2007 San Antonio Spurs
  • 2006 Miami Heat
  • 2005 San Antonio Spurs
  • 2004 Detroit Pistons
  • 2003 San Antonio Spurs
  • 2000 LA Lakers
  • 2001 LA Lakers
  • 2002 LA Lakers

LeBron won two championships under Erik Spoelstra in Miami in 2012 and 2013. He returned to the Cleveland Cavs in 2015, where he started his career. He won his third title in 2016. After losing in the NBA Finals in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018, LeBron bolted for sunny Los Angeles.

Lakers Championships

The Lakers appeared in the NBA Championship 32 times. They won 17 titles and were the runner-up 15 times.

Between 1962 and 1973, the Lakers were in the NBA Finals nine times. They won just one title during that era in 1972, and settled for being the runner-up eight times.

  • Minneapolis Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954
  • LA Lakers: 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020

Pat Riley won a title as a player in 1972. He coached Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers to four championships in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988.

Zen Master Phil Jackson won 11 championships as a head coach. He guided the Chicago Bulls to six championships during their 1990s dynasty, and then won five more with the Lakers. Jackson won a three-peat between 2000 and 2002 with Shaq and Kobe, and added to more back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010.

Game 6 Blowout

The Lakers led by 18 at halftime, then extended their lead to 30 points early in the third quarter boosted by “Playoff Rondo“, who shook off a mini-slump.

LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each scored 15 points by that point. The three of them combined outscored the Heat (45 to 41).

The Lakers led by as many as 36 points before the Heat rallied back from down 82-46. The Heat unleashed a 23-8 run at the start of the fourth quarter to make the Lakers sweat. LeBron took over and scored the next nine points for the Lakers, putting them up by 22 points with two minutes remaining.

The Lakers held on to a 106-93 victory to win Game 6 and the championship. Rondo finished with 19 points. Davis added 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Bam Adebayo scored 25 points and hauled down 10 rebounds in the loss for Miami. Jimmy Butler scored only 12 points.

The Lakers won their first title since 2010. The Lakers and LeBron dedicated the bittersweet NBA championship run to the late Kobe Bryant, who passed away earlier in the year in a fatal helicopter crash with his daughter.

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