The streets of Los Angeles have been overtaken by a sea of purple and gold as Lakers fans celebrate their team winning a historic 17th NBA championship.
Images and videos of jam-packed streets have flooded social media as many fear the scenes could send the city into lockdown.
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Coronavirus cases in America have sat around the 50,000 per-day mark over the past five days, but that hasn’t stopped Lakers fans from flooding the streets.
As thousands revelled in the victory, many were left worrying the celebrations would spiral into a devastating COVID outbreak.
“The scene was mostly peaceful but beyond boisterous,” he wrote. “A few men clambered up construction-site scaffolding — about 50 feet in the air — and waved a Lakers flag. A few drivers burned rubber, sending thick smoke into the air. On some streets, traffic was at a standstill for about an hour.”
Fans flocked to the home of the Lakers in Staples Centre as police tried in vain to disperse the expanding crowds.
As police attempted to disperse the crowd and block the entrance to the stadium with some officers “holding weapons used to fire so-called less-lethal projectiles”, the LA Times reported.
There were also scenes of revellers kicking police cars as they attempted to get the crowd to disperse.
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The LA Times reported that fans were chanting “Kobe, Kobe” and that “A big crowd took over the intersection of Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court, dancing and jumping and setting off smoke bombs in purple and gold”.
The Times report also quoted LA Police Department chief Vito Palazzolo, who said “we hope people celebrate at home”.
The US has recorded more than 7.7 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking coronavirus numbers since the pandemic kicked off in December. Making it the worst-hit country for coronavirus infections.
Deaths in the country from the deadly pandemic sit close 215,000. Far more than any other country has recorded.
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti is expecting the wild scenes to carry on long into the night around the streets of his city.
“I think none of us are going to go to sleep early tonight,” Garcetti said to KTLA.
It was a different message to one he issued to the city in the lead up to the fifth game of the NBA Finals when he urged fans to not forget about the deadly virus and celebrate a Lakers championship safely.
“We must remember COVID-19 is still here and still dangerous. No matter what happens, we’re asking everyone to watch safely at home and not gather in crowds near the Staples Center or elsewhere,” Garcetti tweeted.
The scenes have lit up social media with some worried about the spread of COVID-19 in the crowd.
After six years in the NBA wilderness, LeBron James and the Lakers have claimed the franchises 17th NBA championship to draw level with the Boston Celtics.
It was a season that the Lakers almost had to win with the mammoth signing of Anthony Davis, the second year of James and the untimely death of Kobe Bryant all setting the team on track to end a 10-year title drought.
It was Bryant who brought the last title to LA in 2009-10, and Lakers fans started a party a decade in the making almost immediately.
In normal years a brand new NBA season would be about to get underway, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a season suspension that will push the start of the 2020-21 season back until at least Christmas Day.
In the Orlando bubble it was just as wild.
As the celebrations kicked off, the Lakers forgot 27-year old guard Quinn Cook as the team left the stadium and headed back to the party in the bubble.
The Lakers were quickly into the celebrations with videos coming out thick and fast.
There are going to be some sore heads in the days to come as the Lakers soak in NBA title number 17.