The 2019-20 NBA season was a bucket of craziness, and a gut punch to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three months inside the ‘Bubble’ at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL, yielded the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise with an unprecedented 17th Orange Roundball League title. The NBA’s plan to isolate coaches and players paid extraordinary dividends.
Inspecting the league’s plan under a microscope, there’s zero skepticism it was the very-best commissioner Adam Silver and the NBAPA could do to salvage the 2019-20 season. Myself and groves of others had their doubts as to whether or not the NBA season would reach its conclusion, but now that’s just an afterthought.
A job well done, NBA.
We have further proof that the ‘Bubble’ plan was brilliant. Look no further than the NHL and their bubble success in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Hockey has reached its finality with the Tampa Bay Lightning hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup for the second time in team history.
Basketball now has its ending with LeBron “King” James, Anthony “The Brow” Davis, and the rest of the ‘Purple and Gold Brotherhood’ firmly cemented in NBA lore. With trophy No. 17 in hand, the “Lake Show” has now tied the Boston Celtics for most championships all-time. Goodness, gracious.
“This historic 2020 NBA championship belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers!” pic.twitter.com/LVmDZ3BB6s
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 12, 2020
Their road to greatness certainly didn’t come easy with the NBA’s ‘Bubble’ system on display. Staples Center wasn’t packed to the rafters with raucous Lakers’ fans, players donned COVID masks whenever possible, and a boycott nearly halted the postseason for good.
Luckily for all of us, former President Barack Obama came through with a Mariano Rivera-esque save. A subcommittee of players led by LBJ, Chris Paul, and several others were up against the proverbial ropes when a single call changed everything.
President Obama applauded the NBA’s moxie to boycott postseason games due to the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, WI, as well as police brutality and racial injustice in general, but felt a secondary restart would speak louder than a walkout. Obama’s advice was heard clearly, and we all have the former president to thank for the NBA entertainment that ensued. It was berserk, bananas, and bonkers, my friends.
Mile High Basketball magic filled the air at Walt Disney World Resort with a historic Denver Nuggets’ run. With their backs pressed tightly against the wall, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, and the rest of the Nuggets’ contingent dug themselves out of a 3-1 series hole — not once, but twice.
The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers’ fell victim to Denver’s remarkable comebacks, and it’s now impossible to second-guess head coach Mike Malone and the Nuggets’ unbelievable resiliency. None should soon forget their Mile High City grit.
A Boston Celtics franchise searching for their 18th NBA title didn’t come to fruition. Instead, the Jimmy Butler-led Miami Heat showed us something that hoops’ fans will talk about at the water cooler for years to come. Butler’s all-you-can-eat buffet of orange roundball superiority stole the spotlight and nearly propelled the Heat to glory.
When the smoke cleared from this COVID-19 contained NBA restart inside the ‘Bubble,’ the Los Angeles Lakers’ supremacy vaulted them to a record-tying 17th title. This one was for Kobe Bryant.
This Day, TWENTY FOUR years ago, Kobe Bryant dresses in a Lakers uniform for a game for the first time — the team’s first preseason game of the 1996 season in Honolulu.
RIP Mamba. This one is for you too. pic.twitter.com/CobjlHq87f
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 12, 2020
Joining the Celtics atop the NBA world with championship No. 17, the Lakers left us wanting more. The league left us wanting more.
More strategy. More entertainment. More basketball.
Until next week, be smart, stay safe, and stay healthy.