June 17, 2009
More than 100,000 Lakers fans dressed in purple-and-gold filled the streets of downtown Los Angeles and jammed the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday for a parade to mark the team's 15th NBA championship.
The parade began at Staples Center and proceeded slowly along a two-mile route to the Coliseum, which was filled to its 93,000 capacity hours before the double-decker buses and motorcycles arrived for the rally.
So, to steal a page from Puck Daddy's blog playbook, here are some sights and sounds from the Lakers parade — from Kobe Bryant's(notes) celebratory puppet shirt to creative fan signage to KFC employees. Enjoy.
A convoy of double-decker buses carrying players, coaches and the Laker Girls cheerleaders drew whoops and hollers along the route. I clapped for Vanessa Bryant's sundress. And Sun Yue(notes), of course. Always Sun Yue.
ESPN Radio's Beto Duran tweeted along these two great crowd shots. The poster on the left was likely distributed by Nike reps still trying to suck out a few last drops of stuffing from those damn MVPuppets. As for the custom Lakers' tie on the right? That's probably my high school math teacher.
Purple carpet. Nice touch, Buss.
Via Forum Blue and Gold, Kelly Reid (@BocaLakerGurl) tweets: "The fans may be late for games but they sure are on time for the parade ... [Then again,] these are the real Laker fans not the stars!" To which I say, how dare you not consider the mighty Zac Efron a diehard Lakers fan!
Yes, yes, Lamar, but how crazy is the parade and rally? Like, on a scale of one to 10, where one is a heavily-sedated animal and 10 is your Twitter background photo, how wild is it? We need to know. Details, man.
Oh, it's crazy all right, and "Kobeman" here wouldn't have it any other way!
Bespectacled Lakers fans break through a chain link fence to line up for seats at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to see the Lakers' victory rally. You can't stop Lakers fans; you can only hope to contain them.
Update: The LAPD used less-than-lethal beanbag rounds on a group of bottle-throwing fans who broke down another part of a fence at the Coliseum. Several people were arrested.
Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register: "We often wondered throughout the season what Josh Powell(notes) brought to the Lakers exactly. Now we know: An Afro large enough to conceal Jack Nicholson. That was Powell on Wednesday, bouncing around looking like he had a shrub on his head. Now a champion, he decided to let himself finally relax, unleashing his braids to expose a full head of hair."
Shannon Brown(notes), in a slick Nike/KB24 "Carpe Diem" pop champagne tee, was easily greeted with one of the loudest receptions of the day. Seriously. It was nearly as boisterous as Kobe's "MVP" pop.
I have no way of knowing, but I like to pretend the guy in the front is either named Jose Zuniga or Ricardo Veloz. Why? Well, already on probation for watching Lakers games at work on a small television in the back, the friends and co-workers at a KFC in Bell Gardens played hooky with a camera-ready sign, prepared to forfeit their jobs. Gale Holland has the exhilarating story.
For more great photo coverage of the parade and rally, check out the LA Times gallery.