Vanessa Bryant congratulated the Lakers after their championship win against the Miami Heat on Sunday, October 11.
The widow of Lakers NBA legend Kobe Byrant posted an old photo of Kobe and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka on her Instagram story. "Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @Lakers Kobe was right RP 'stay the course- block out the noise' - @kobebryant," she wrote. "Wish Kobe and Gianna were here to see this."
The Lakers were crowned the 2020 NBA champions after defeating the Heat in a 106-93 victory at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend. Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the team won in game six of their best-of-seven series, making this win the franchises' 17th championship. The win was the first in ten years since the team was crowned the champions over the Boston Celtics in 2010.
The Los Angeles Lakers dedicated the season to the fallen legend after he and 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant died in a tragic plane crash along with seven other victims on January 26. Kobe made his debut on the team in 1996 after being drafted straight from high school. Wearing numbers 8 and 24, Kobe spent the rest of his 20-year career representing the Lakers, leading them to five championship wins.
After game four of the NBA finals, the Lakers announced they would wear their Black Mamba uniforms and a #2 patch in memory of Gianna — who wore the number when she played for Mamba Sports Academy — for game five. The uniforms were designed by Kobe after his retirement from the NBA in 2016. Vanessa responded to the team's decision to honor her late husband and daughter. "Mamba and Mambacita jerseys approved for game 5," she wrote on her Instagram story at the time.
After the team's big win, James opened up about why the team wanted to win for Kobe. After his tragic passing, "We got as close as you possibly can be, when that moment happened," James said about the team. "It brought the whole basketball world close as well, but when you're internal and it hits home, it just means that much more and we locked in from that very moment and said, 'This is bigger than us.'"
"Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him," Davis explained regarding their win. "I know he's looking down on us proud of us. I know Vanessa's proud of us, the organization's proud of us. It means a lot to us. It's a tough moment, man. He was a big brother to all of us. We did this for him."