After dropping a game-high 30 points on the Magic in the Lakers' 99-86 Game 5 victory that clinched the franchise's 15th NBA title, Kobe Bryant reflected on his first championship without Shaquille O'Neal, as the Finals MVP trophy stood by his side. The Lakers' guard averaged 32.4 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds in the Finals.
The taste of victory was sweet for Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who was doused with champagne in the team's locker room after L.A.'s title-clinching victory over Orlando. With the win Jackson became the only coach or manager in North American major sports to have won 10 championships. Red Auerbach (NBA) and Scotty Bowman (NHL) each won nine.
Immediately after landing at Los Angeles International Airport the day following the Lakers' Game 5 victory in Orlando, Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, were still riding high. Though the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award was Bryant's first, the championship ring was his fourth. Come the 2009-10 season, Bryant will begin his drive for five.