Thousands of Angelenos filled Figueroa Street and Jefferson Boulevard Monday morning to celebrate the Los Angeles Lakers' 16th NBA Championship with a well-deserved victory parade.
While authorities had not provided an official number at press time, estimates of 500,000 to 1 million people in attendance seemed reasonable given the huge number of purple and gold jerseys packed in between Staples Center and LA Live.
However, unlike the booze-fueled riots that broke out immediately after the Lakers had finally defeated the hated Boston Celtics in a dramatic (but almost unwatchable) Game 7 of the NBA Finals, this gathering had a peaceful, family friendly atmosphere that let the true LA fans celebrate their city's victory with the team and players they love.
The flat-bed truck carrying the team crawled south down Figueroa from Staples Center to the delight of the fans. Kobe, forward Pau Gasol and center Andrew Bynum waved to fans, Larry O'Brien Trophy held high.
For police Sgt. David Wong, the friendly attitude of the crowd was a welcome relief. A veteran of six victory parades, he said that this year's was much more low key than he had seen in the past.