The lights will go off. Another banner will be placed in Staples Center. And every member of the Lakers' staff will receive their championship ring from last season's successful playoff run.
The rings will symbolize various championship totals among various Lakers. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson will have to figure out where to put his 11th ring, since all his 10 others fit two full hands of fingers. Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher will complete one hand with their fifth ring. Lakers forwards Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, center Andrew Bynum and guards Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic still have enough room on one hand with their two rings. Ron Artest will temporarily see his before raffling it off to raise proceeds for mental health charities. And then there's newcomers, such as Steve Blake, Matt Barnes, Theo Ratliff, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, who will stand as outsiders but no doubt view the ceremony as something they hope repeats next season.
Regardless of the varied backgrounds among the Lakers' roster, one universal truth remains. They all insist the ring ceremony Tuesday at Staples Center won't consume them once the Lakers tip off their season opener against the Houston Rockets. With an off-season consisting of numerous club appearances, a Dodgeball tournament and getting pulled over in a race car, Artest could've definitely been speaking about himself when he said, "We celebrated enough." Fisher less dramatically noted how the ring ceremony and the game are "two separate things." And Gasol noted the necessity to "focus real quick."
"It's important to do that," Gasol said after practice Tuesday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "I've seen some games after a ring ceremony where the champion has paid that price. I've seen games where the team did a good job in regrouping and refocusing and taking care of business."