This being the inaugural tournament, there were so many unknowns regarding the quality of games, the buy-in from fans and how important winning it would be. By all accounts, the IST was a smashing success and the Lakers gave the competition a level of respect only given to NBA titles by raising a banner to compare the win.
The Lakers are known for opting not to raise any Western Conference Championship or Pacific Division banner, so an IST banner hanging inside Crytpo.com Arena was not a given.
Early reports suggested the Lakers wouldn't raise a banner had they won for this reason. So why the change of heart?
Well, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report discussed the league's influence on ensuring an IST banner was hung on the #thisleague UNCUT podcast.
“I wasn’t sure they would do it but I know the league really wanted any team who won the In-Season Tournament, they wanted the team to do something to kind of say that this is a big deal. I know that the Lakers had a little bit of pressure. I don’t know to what extent but I know the Lakers felt a little bit of pressure to do something.”
It's no surprise the league would want the Lakers to hang a banner.
If the Lakers won and did not hang one, it would hurt the competition's prestige throughout the league and to fans. Next year, if another team wins, it makes it less likely they'll be the first to hang one and suddenly, everyone is too cool to do it. By the Lakers, the team tied with the most titles, hanging it near their championship banners further legitimizes the tournament and guarantees everyone other team will follow suit.
Regardless of whether the league pressured the Lakers or they chose to do it themselves, the banner matters. Given the tournament's success, it seems the IST is here to stay and similar banners will be found around the NBA in the future.
Well, that is, if the Lakers eventually lose an IST game.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.