Originally created 06/20/00

Lakers win NBA title



LOS ANGELES -- Like Magic, Wilt and Kareem, there's only one word to describe Shaq and Kobe.

Champions.

After so many years of coming up woefully short, after chapter and verse about their weaknesses and unfilled potential, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant won their first NBA championships Monday night.

In an exciting fourth quarter that ended Larry Bird's coaching career, O'Neal and Bryant led the Lakers to a 116-111 victory in Game 6 of the NBA Finals for the franchise's first title since 1988.

O'Neal scored 41 points, marking the third time he scored 40 or more in this series, and Bryant had 26 including four free throws that clinched it in the final 13 seconds.

O'Neal was the unanimous choice for MVP of the series, adding to his MVP awards from the regular season and All-Star game.

The victory gave coach Phil Jackson his seventh title -- his first without Michael Jordan -- in just his first season coaching a Lakers team that had been ousted from the playoffs in each of the first three seasons since O'Neal and Bryant arrived.