Following their remarkable victory, discussions arose regarding whether the Lakers would immortalize the achievement with a banner hanging in their arena. Opting for a distinctive approach, the team unveiled a unique banner that listed the championship year, leaving room for potential future titles.
The banner’s introduction, however, garnered mixed reactions, with former Lakers guard Ron Harper expressing his displeasure through his personal X account. Harper, a pivotal member of the Lakers from 1999-2001 and a part of the championship squads in 2000 and 2001, brought a unique perspective having also clinched three NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls. For veterans like Harper, honoring the In-Season Tournament with a banner seemed incongruent given the profound significance associated with an NBA championship.
Despite differing opinions, the Lakers navigated the situation with tact and restraint. The banner unveiling, which occurred before a game against the New York Knicks, was a brief affair, not overshadowing the gravity of NBA championship banners. The Lakers’ muted celebration recognized the unique achievement without undermining the pinnacle of NBA success.
While the unconventional placement of the In-Season Tournament banner alongside NBA championship banners may raise eyebrows, it symbolizes a hard-earned accomplishment that merits acknowledgment. Although sentiments akin to Harper’s exist, the Lakers, draped in purple and gold, can rightfully take pride in bringing home the inaugural championship and making history in the process.