News Flash: Lakers cooked for hanging in-season competition flag.

News Flash: Lakers cooked for hanging in-season competition flag.

Lakers cooked for hanging in-season tournament banner.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the first-ever in-season tournament earlier this month, defeating the Indiana Pacers to claim the title and a $500,000 prize for each player on the team.

The Lakers, who are tied with the Boston Celtics for the most-ever NBA championships with 17, also earned a banner for their work.

On Monday, the Lakers raised that banner to the rafters, where it joined the first five banners in the Lakers’ franchise history, all of which were won in Minneapolis.

The NBA put a lot of emphasis on its inaugural in-season tournament, and the results were widely praised by fans, the media and players alike as teams appeared extra motivated by the additional hardware (and cash) on the table.

Fans, however, were predictably amused to see the Lakers raise a regular-season banner next to all of the Finals ones.

The championship banner for the 2023 In-Season Tournament unveiled before the game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Arena on December 18, 2023, in Los Angeles, California.

Lakers cooked for hanging in-season competition flag.

Fans on social media roasted the Lakers for their banner.

X (formerly Twitter) user balldntlie_ remembered a quote from late Lakers great Kobe Bryant: “KOBE: ‘This franchise does not hang division banners. It does not hang conference championships. We hang one banner and one banner only and that’s NBA titles.'”

In response, another user joked that Bryant would have lost on purpose to avoid hanging a sub-standard banner.

The odd juxtaposition of Bryant’s mentality and reputation as a cold-blooded winner who only cared about titles was a popular topic for fans.

User Shadowiscold wondered if Laker star LeBron James “really thinks this counts as a championship?”

Celtics fans, meanwhile, used the opportunity to point out that the Lakers have won just 12 titles while based in Los Angeles.

Lakers cooked for hanging in-season competition flag.

User iJordanMoore (whose profile notes Boston roots) wrote that “no one does fake banners like L.A. Gotta give it to ’em.”

Another user named CelticsCurt wrote that the Lakers have “IST banners, stolen Minnesota banners, bubble banners, the Lakers really got it all folks!!”

User _SnapBackT_ compared the in-season tournament banner to the NCAA’s NIT champion—a tournament that brings together teams who didn’t make the official NCAA bracket.

For his part, James—the tournament’s MVP—was unmoved by all of the jokes.

“I think it’s awesome,” James told reporters after the Lakers lost to the Knicks 114-109. “To be able to acknowledge wins throughout the course of a marathon, I think that’s pretty cool.

That’s the first, the inauguration of it. We were able to win it. So, for our fans that didn’t get an opportunity to be in Vegas, they got an opportunity to kind of share that celebration with us tonight, share that moment, something that will live on forever for sure here. So, it was a good moment.”

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