Seeing Kobe Bryant smile is worth it all for some Lakers fans [Updated]
As the Lakers' victory parade ended about 12:20 p.m., police estimated the size of the mostly orderly crowd at more than 65,000 and said there were nine arrests for fighting and disturbing the peace.
Out in the crowd, the sound was deafening, with many hollering "Kobe," "MVP" and "L.A.!" Some men burst into tears.
Kayla Brown, a student at Pepperdine, shouted, "Kobe, I love you."
Minutes later, after the parade buses passed, she turned to her friends and said, "Oh, my God, I'm still shaking," then immediately began scrolling through her cellphone to see what photos she had been able to take. She was thrilled to see she had gotten a close-up of Kobe Bryant.
She added: "Now we have to go sit in traffic for hours, but it was well worth it."
Isaiah Tellez, 12 and his step-brother Daniel Saulcedo, 11, both of Whittier, were leaning against the guardrail with expressions of wonder and disbelief on their faces at actually seeing the players in the flesh.
Pierce Nemore, 18, said he was surprised by how many people turned out.
"Seems like there are a billion Lakers fans," he said.
Gabriel Graciano, 28, of Baldwin Park said he wished there had been more festivities to keep the fans busy before the parade started.
"I thought it was pretty cool," he said of the parade. "But we need more music or entertainment. We were out here for about four hours."
After the buses went by, Alphonso Sierra of Montebello dismantled a tent he had built to shelter about 25 family members from the sun as they waited for the parade.
"Now, back to reality," he said.
[Updated at 1 p.m.: Two children, Alan Sandoval, 10, and Donald Porter, 8, were separated from their parents during the parade and were still missing at 1 p.m., police said.]
-- Jessica Garrison, Esmeralda Bermudez, Gale Holland, Sam Allen, Alexandra Zavis and Richard Winton
Photo: Aerial view of the Lakers team float making its way down Figueroa during today's victory parade. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.