Neither the Orlando Magic nor a disintegrating city budget managed to forestall the Lakers’ victory parade, which is scheduled to follow a two-mile route from Staples Center to the Coliseum on Wednesday.
The Lakers defeated the Magic
on Sunday night, 99-86, to win the NBA championship, but their resounding win did little to quell the griping about who should pay for the celebration.
The growing public debate about the cost of the traditional parade took place against a backdrop of city workers facing layoffs and mandatory furloughs, while fervent basketball fans demanded an opportunity to salute their hometown heroes.
In the end, everybody won and everybody pays.
Both the team and the city will kick in about $1 million each for the festivities, which for the first time includes the significant cost of renting the Coliseum. The Lakers worked with city officials to keep costs down, including ruling out a weekend celebration or a longer parade, according to Tim Harris, the Lakers’ senior vice president for business operations and chief marketing officer.
The city will pay for police, transportation and general staff, said Matt Szabo, spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The mayor said Sunday that to not hold a parade “is untenable,” even as city officials have been meeting behind closed doors to find hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts. (Note: An earlier version of this post referred to the mayor's spokesman as Mark Szabo.)
-- Julie Cart