While the league may have pressured the Lakers to raise the banner, the overall reception was positive and fans seemed to embrace the competition even if some disliked the jerseys or the new IST courts.
After the game, LeBron James talked about the banner and its importance.
"I think it's awesome," James said. "To acknowledge wins throughout the course of a marathon, I think that's pretty cool…For our fans that didn't get the opportunity to be in Vegas, they got an opportunity to share that celebration with us tonight, share that moment. It's something that will live on forever for sure. It's a good moment."
The banner is officially up pic.twitter.com/YKNhSICtrx— Edwin Garcia (@ECreates88) December 19, 2023
Banners are hoisted to commemorate, celebrate and document historical moments. The win doesn't just belong to the team and its players but to the fans.
There wasn't a raucous atmosphere similar to an NBA title unveiling, but you could hear the noise and energy rise while the banner was presented. That was a moment for the fans to embrace their team's success and, as we move further past the moment, having it up in the rafters will be more meaningful and common as other teams who win do the same.
Head coach Darvin Ham talked about the momentum of the IST during his postgame presser and balanced appreciating the accomplishment while keeping his eyes on the main prize.
"I think it's great for the organization," Ham said. "Obviously, it's something that's going to be around. It's only going to get bigger and better. I think it's really, really cool that we're doing that, especially being the first to win the inaugural In-Season Tourney. I think it's big…It furthermore sustains a foundation that we're trying to set in terms of getting through the regular season and, then, ultimately into the playoffs."
The Lakers have struggled to get through the regular season in December. They won only one game since the IST, but now they can fully focus on regular season play and their flaws and either improve together, combining chemistry with health, or opt to make a trade to improve the roster as we head into 2024.
All with a new, hard-earned banner hanging above them for the rest of this season and beyond.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.