LeBron James
LeBron James is a man on a mission. (Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

The excitement for the NBA Finals continues to swell, thanks to the different storylines that hype up the match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat.

From the passing of the torch of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to new leader LeBron James, to Miami’s surprise run to the championship round, the battle for the crown brings a ton of colorful tales.

The Lakers were first to bag the ticket after defeating the Denver Nuggets for the Eastern Conference title. It will be the first Finals appearance of the LA squad since 2010, or the same year Bryant won his last title.

The Heat, led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, followed suit with a thrashing of the Boston Celtics in six games. Miami will be marching to the Finals for the first time since James left for free agency in 2014.

Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler serves as the leader for the Miami Heat. (Garrett Ellwood / NBAE via Getty Images / AFP)

NBA players, including veterans, retired and former members, took to social media to say their congratulatory messages.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra was credited for steering the Heat in another Finals appearance.

“Let’s gooo!! That @MiamiHEAT culture is just different 🔥 Standing ovation to all the guys, Coach Spo, and Pat Riley. 👏🏿👏🏿 Can’t wait for the NBA Finals!! #HeatNation” wrote Heat big man Chris Bosh, who was part of the trio that gifted the South Beach two titles in 2012 and 2013.

Manu Ginobili, once considered a rival of the Heat from 2013 to 2014, also praised the Filipino-American tactician.

“Chapeau Spo and the Heat!! Character, effort, team work, great to watch. Congrats! 👏👏👏” the former Spurs guard said.

Others were happy to see Jimmy Butler, who had to jump ship from three different teams before finding home in Miami.

On the Lakers’ side, James insisted that their “job is not done” yet.

“One step closer to the goal. Job not done,” said James as he sets his sight on championship number 17 for the Lakers.

A man on a mission, James likewise vowed to continue a lasting legacy left by Bryant, who perished in a tragic helicopter crash along with 13-year-old Gianna and seven others last January.

“Every time you put on purple and gold, you think about his (Kobe) his legacy. You think about what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years,” the four-time MVP said.

“And what he stood for, both on the floor and off the floor. What he demanded out of his teammates, what he demanded out of himself.” 

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/28/its-on-players-react-to-lakers-heat-nba-finals-matchup/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=its-on-players-react-to-lakers-heat-nba-finals-matchup)