The Morning Column: October 25, 2021

Everyone is acting as if the ship has sailed on a parade for the 2020 Lakers and Dodgers but I don’t think it has. The Lakers deserve a parade, the Dodgers deserve a parade and L.A. deserves a parade.

Wednesday will be the one-year anniversary of the Dodgers beating the Tampa Bay Rays to win the franchise’s first World Series since 1988. Two weeks earlier was the one-year anniversary of the Lakers beating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals to win the franchise’s first title since 2010.

Both championships were won in a “bubble” during a global pandemic, hundreds of miles from Los Angeles with both teams, their fans and the city never getting the parade they deserved.

A parade was not only significant to sports fans in a city which had not seen the Dodgers and Lakers win a championship in the same year since 1988, but to the players on both teams. LeBron James and Cody Bellinger took to Twitter a year ago asking for a parade.

At the time, the Lakers, Dodgers and city officials had generally the same statement when it came to having a parade: We will have one when it is safe to do so.

The Lakers and Dodgers entered last season with the goal of repeating as champions in 2021 and both teams brought up wanting to finally have the parade they were robbed of a year earlier.  

“I do think there’s a little bit of, ‘I want to do it again, we want to do it again so we can enjoy the champagne celebration in the clubhouse with our families, teammates, coaches and also that parade,’” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters during spring training. “When you’re a young player, you think about winning the World Series and that parade is something that sticks out in a lot of players’ minds.”

When Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo re-joined the Lakers this offseason, they both mentioned wanting to win a championship to finally experience the parade they never got in 2020.  

 “We didn’t get our parade,” Rondo said. “I want to do it again. I want obviously a parade here in L.A. and I think this is a special team that could possibly make that happen.”

Howard added: “I want another one, I want my parade. There’s nothing better than having that feeling of bringing everyone together and winning… I was very hurt (there wasn’t a parade). I just had dreams of having a parade and standing in front of the crowd and saying. ‘Thank you, L.A.!’ I had dreams and visions of that so I was extremely hurt but this year I see it and I know it’s going to happen.”

The Lakers and Dodgers both fell short of their goal of repeating as champions and having the parade they missed out on in 2020. The Phoenix Suns eliminated the Lakers from the playoffs in June and the Dodgers’ season ended on Saturday in the NLCS, just two wins shy of returning to the World Series.

But why do the Lakers and Dodgers need to win another championship in order to celebrate winning one in 2020?

Who made that rule? Didn’t both teams and city officials say there would be a celebration for the 2020 championship when it was safe to have one? It may not be totally safe right now but we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic and the Lakers and Dodgers have welcomed back capacity crowds without social distancing restrictions.

Everyone is acting as if the ship has sailed on a celebration for the Lakers, Dodgers and the 2020 City of Champions but I don’t think it has. The Lakers deserve a parade, the Dodgers deserve a parade and, damn it, Los Angeles deserves a parade.

This won’t be a normal parade but then again nothing has been normal for the past 19 months so there’s nothing new there.

It has always made more sense for the Lakers and Dodgers to have a joint parade after both teams won in the same month, just 16 days apart. It makes even more sense today with both ownership groups now financially connected.

In July, Philip Anschutz sold his 27% minority interest in the Lakers to Dodgers co-owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly. Executives from both teams from the Dodgers’ Magic Johnson and Lon Rosen to the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss and Linda Rambis have been friends for over 40 years but now Los Angeles’ two most popular teams are now officially tied together.

What would a joint parade for the Lakers and Dodgers look like over a year after both won a championship?

It would take place on or around Thursday, February 24, 2022, which would be during the NBA All-Star break and one day before the Lakers resume the season at Staples Center against the Clippers. It would also be two days before the Dodgers start spring training in Arizona. It’s the perfect gap in both teams’ schedules as they reflect on what they accomplished and look forward to recapturing the championship they lost.

The parade route would begin at Los Angeles City Hall, which was where the Dodgers and Lakers celebrated their championships in 1988, and end with a rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which is where the Lakers celebrated their championship in 2009. At the rally, current members of the Lakers and Dodgers, who were on the 2020 championship teams, would address the crowd, while players who are now with other teams would address the crowd via prerecorded messages played on the stadium’s videoboard.

Is it ideal? No, but nothing is or has been during this pandemic. But the Lakers and Dodgers deserve a parade and a celebration for winning it all in 2020. If they do it again in 2022, we can have another parade or two. We certainly don’t need an excuse to celebrate after everything we’ve been through the past two years.