Kobe Goes to Disneyland

Los Angeles Lakers all-star Kobe Bryant, the most valuable player of the NBA Finals, enjoyed his second victory parade in as many days Thursday, this time riding a float along Disneyland's Main Street U.S.A., and waving at purple-and-gold-clad fans who chanted "MVP! MVP!"

The Lakers clinched the franchise's 15th NBA championship Sunday night by defeating the Orlando Magic -- a series that pitted the teams located near the nation's two Disney resorts.

"It's like a dream come true to be here and celebrate at Disneyland, coming down Main Street U.S.A. with all the fans cheering," Bryant said after the parade. "It's a tremendous honor to represent my team."

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland glowed with Lakers purple and gold during the NBA Finals, and it will stay that way through Thursday night, Disney officials said. The castle at Walt Disney World in Florida was bathed in the colors of the Orlando Magic during the series.

The presidents of the two Resorts, Ed Grier at Disneyland and Meg Crofton at Walt Disney World, made good on their friendly wager on the NBA Finals. Crofton donned a pair of Lakers' purple and gold Mickey Mouse ears and walked down Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

"I heard there was a little competition with Disneyland and Disney World and we won," Bryant said. "So our colors are staying up a little bit longer."

Laker fans were clearly ecstatic to have Bryant in their midst during their trip to Disneyland.


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"It's incredible, indescribable. I can't even explain it," Alyssa Valdez told KCAL9. "To see him right there, waving at me ... It's awesome."

"It's just the greatest day I could ever see in my life," visitor Joe Gomez told Channel 9.

A parade with Bryant at Disneyland is just "more private, more personal and I want to be out with real Laker fans over here," Gomez said -- referencing the throng of people who turned out at the Lakers victory parade and celebration Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles.

Two Lakers fans were tapped to ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds with Bryant after the parade.

David Guerrero and his son Jonathan, 4, of Pomona, wore their team jerseys in celebration.

"They just picked us out of the crowd and said, 'Do you want to ride the Matterhorn with Kobe?"' Guerrero said as his son jumped up and down. "I'm shaking, this is so exciting."

"In Southern California, being a Disney fan and a Lakers fan, it just goes together and that's why we wanted to be here today," he said.

Bryant told Channel 9 that his roots are firmly planted in Southern California.

"I plan on staying here," Bryant said. "I really don't see myself going anywhere else, or playing with any other organization. I think the real goal that we have in mind is to make sure that all the pieces come back for next season. So we can make another run at it again. You don't see a team that is this young and so talented that's already won a championship."

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