LA Celebrates NBA Championship
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Showtime gave way to party time Tuesday night after the Los Angeles Lakers delivered on Coach Pat Riley’s ″guarantee″ of back-to-back championships, and pandemonium erupted throughout the nation’s second-largest city.
″It’s like going nuts 3/8″ shouted Caren Cupp, a hostess at Legends Sports Bar and Rib Room in Long Beach. ″We have a full house. We’ve been sold out for days. We had every single person on their feet banging on their tables shouting Lakers, Lakers.″
At the Forum, actor Jack Nicholson, a diehard Los Angeles fan, was among celebrities celebrating the Lakers’ 108-105 triumph over the Detroit Pistons. Also spotted at the arena were Elton John, Dyan Cannon and Cathy Lee Crosby.
At the Sports Deli in Century City assistant manager Marvin Smith described the scene as ″bedlam″ following the game.
Smith, a Pistons fan, said he played ″Respect″ by Aretha Franklin over the bar’s stereo system ″because we beat the Celtics and we took the Lakers all the way to seven games.″
During the last 14 seconds of the game, patrons began opening little bottles of champagne as they shouted ″Back-to-back 3/8 Back-to-back,″ said Eve Holmes, a Lakers fan at the Sports Deli.
The Lakers became the first team since 1969 to repeat as consecutive NBA champions, fulfilling Riley’s year-old promise to fans of back-to-back championships.
Throughout the day, T-shirts, confetti, glitz, glamor, parties, celebrities, music and Magic - forward Earvin ″Magic″ Johnson, that is - were on the minds of most Los Angeles Laker fans. During the game, traffic was strangely light on Southern California’s usually busy freeways. Sounds of the play-by-play could be heard drifting out of apartments in the Fairfax district, and throughout the city.
″Go Lakers Go. Beat Detroit,″ read the shopping center marquee in Malibu, the celebrity enclave that many fans call home.
Even before the Lakers won their second consecutive National Basketball Association title, city officials were proceeding with plans for a massive downtown parade.
Tentative plans called for the parade to begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at 9th Street and Broadway. The procession, which is to include three floats carrying the team and the Laker girls, will move down Broadway, First and Main streets to City Hall.