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The Los Angeles Lakers secured their 17th title in franchise history after defeating the Miami Heat on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, LeBron James was an enormous part of that. James averaged 29.8 points in the series en route to being named NBA Finals MVP for the fourth time.

One thing that was on the minds of every Lakers player, coach, and fan was the fact that the Lakers won an NBA title in the same year that Kobe Bryant died. On Wednesday, James reflected on that in a heartfelt message posted to Instagram.

Bryant was certainly weighing heavy on the minds of the Lakers throughout their postseason run in the bubble. The team wore alternate “Black Mamba” jerseys multiple time, and only lost one playoff game in them. The Lakers also had “KB” patches on their uniforms throughout the season after Bryant’s death in January. For Lakers fans in Los Angeles, one of the first things they did after the team beat the Heat in the Finals was gather outside of the Staples Center and chant “Kobe.”

There was quite a bit of motivation for the Lakers to finish the job and win it all in 2020. Los Angeles went out and traded an abundance of talent to acquire star big man Anthony Davis in a trade and he paid dividends down the stretch. With all of that said, James’ Instagram post is relatively easy to answer: The season ended with a title in Los Angeles. Bryant would be proud of that.

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