LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers will get a parade to mark their 15th championship despite objections the city cannot afford to throw the $2 million party, officials said on Monday.
The Lakers beat the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game Five of the NBA finals in Florida on Sunday to clinch the best-of-seven series but there had already been rumblings at home over the cost of a celebration.
“We confirm there is going to be a parade and we’re working on the cost issue,” said a spokeswoman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The spokeswoman said negotiations were underway for the team to help pay for the festivities, which were set for Wednesday morning and will tentatively include a two-mile parade from Staples Center, where the Lakers play, to a rally at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
She said details of that agreement had not yet been finalized but the Los Angeles Times reported the city and the Lakers had each agreed to pay $1 million toward the party, which would involve renting the Coliseum for a day.
Other costs would include police, transportation and city staff.
With Los Angeles facing a deep budget deficit and contemplating laying off workers, some had questioned whether the city should be footing the bill for a parade.
Barbara Maynard, a spokeswoman for the city’s employee unions, told Reuters she supported the Lakers and would attend the parade but was unhappy the team was not picking up the tab.
“We’re looking at massive layoffs and pay cuts and serious reductions in services and we just don’t believe the taxpayers should be paying for a parade when the Lakers, a for-profit enterprise, are quite capable of funding the whole thing,” she said.
Editing by Tony Jimenez