Lakers will hang NBA In-Season Tournament banner despite previous policy of doing so only for championships

NBA In-Season Tournament Championship: Lakers win inaugural NBA Cup
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The Los Angeles Lakers typically have a very stringent policy on banners. They don’t hang them for anything less than a championship. They don’t retire player numbers either unless the player has been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. It’s a strict policy by the standards of most teams, but remember, these are the Lakers we’re talking about here. When you already have 17 championship banners, there just isn’t much room left for extras. They’d need 19 more banners for conference championships and another 33 for division titles, so it makes sense to set some limitations.

Initially, it seemed as though the In-Season Tournament would miss the cut by this standard. Reports even indicated that the Lakers were not planning to hang a banner if they won the tournament. But after defeating the Indiana Pacers on Saturday to secure the first ever NBA Cup, the Lakers ultimately decided that they would hang a banner, the team announced Monday.

The banner will be unlike the ones currently hanging for the team’s 17 NBA championships. The Lakers will not hang a separate banner every time they win the In-Season Tournament. Instead, they will hang a single banner and add to it for all future In-Season Tournament victories. It will be a different shape and color from the banners currently hanging in their rafters in Los Angeles. The Lakers will also honor LeBron James, the tournament’s MVP, and Anthony Davis, chosen to the All-Tournament team, as part of the celebration on Dec. 18.

The In-Season Tournament is still in its infancy. Whether it will last, and in what form, still remains to be seen. But a critical element of its long-term success will be buy-in from the teams that participate and win it. The Lakers breaking their preexisting policy to hang this banner is a positive sign for the event moving forward.

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