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JaVale McGee feels appreciation from Lakers fans after getting championship ring

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JaVale McGee will always be a Lakers champion.

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Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

JaVale McGee was an integral part of the Lakers winning the championship last season. He may not have played a ton of minutes in the playoffs, or had a signature moment during the title run on the court, but it was his manning of the center spot and acceptance of his role that helped the Lakers construct one of the best defenses in the league last year. The way he served in tandem with Dwight Howard to help save Anthony Davis from having to accumulate too much wear-and-tear at the center spot was key for the team as well.

Plus, his bubble vlogs gave us the closest look at the team’s title run we could have gotten short of actually working for the Lakers. That has to count for something too, right?

With all that in mind, it was hard not to be thrilled for McGee when the Lakers gave him his ring on Monday, making him the only player from last year’s title team to get theirs in front of fans:

And in a truly legendary — and quintessentially JaVale — move, he got his emblazoned to say not his name, but his chosen nickname of “Pierre 3xs”, or Pierre Three Times. As in Pierre (his music pseudonym) three-time champion:

And between his mini ring ceremony and Lakers fans calling for the team to bring him back on social media during the rough mid-portion of this season, McGee told Kyle Goon of the O.C. Register that he feels the love he didn’t necessarily always sense during his time with the team:

“Sometimes you don’t get appreciated until you leave a place,” said McGee, who averaged 9.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 130 starts for the Lakers during his tenure. “Unless you’re one of the All-Stars, a team can tell you whenever, ‘Hey we’re shipping you out somewhere.’ But I guess that’s why we get paid millions of dollars: Because it’s harder if you have to move for your job, but you’re in trucking or whatever.”

It was a small ovation from a tiny crowd, but hopefully after all of it, McGee does feel how appreciated he is by Lakers fans. Because whether a player is the first or fifteenth man on the roster, when you win a title with the Lakers, you’re always remembered as a purple and gold champion.

Congrats to Pierre Three Times.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.