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Massive Crowd Celebrates Lakers 16th NBA Championship

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, June 21, 2010, at 01:45PM
2010 Lakers Championship Parade Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Laker guard Kobe Bryant poses for a TV camera with the NBA title trophy while riding in the parade to celebrate the team's 16th NBA championship.

A sea of fans crowded dozens deep along Figueroa street this morning to catch a glimpse of the back-to-back NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. The team rode the roughly two-mile route on a custom flatbed trailer, part of a caravan that included Laker Girls on fire trucks and other team personnel on double-decker buses.

While the estimated crowd of roughly 70,000 may have fallen far short of the 500,000 that the team said could turn out, it was still all that the Downtown blocks could handle.

The title was the fifth for Laker guards Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, and was also the fifth the team has won since moving to Downtown in 1999.

The first spectators showed up far before the parade was scheduled to begin. One fan near the route's start at Figueroa and 11th held a sign claiming he was first to arrive -- at 4pm on Sunday.

Team officials had touted the audio capabilities of the float the players would be riding on in pre-parade press releases, but any sound from the vehicle was easily drowned out by the roar of the crowd.

Unlike in past years, there was no post-parade celebration for players to give speeches.

Costs for the event, estimated at over $1.5 million, will be paid by the Lakers. Two-thirds of that price tag will go to paying for the hundreds of LAPD officers working the route. Police reported nine arrests, but the crowd stayed calm even as thousands of spectators were stuck on Flower street among cars as they tried to depart. Many had arrived via Metro's Blue Line trains. The journey to get across Flower street and onto the station platform took up to a half hour.


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