On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers captured their 17th championship in franchise history. The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat 4-2 in the best of seven series to snap a 10 year title drought for one of the most prominent organizations in all of sports.
The 2020 Laker squad was led by LeBron James, the Finals MVP, and offseason addition Anthony Davis. The addition of Davis last summer boosted the team’s championship potential and listed them among favorites to win the title. James, in his 17th season, put together another MVP-caliber season posting 25.3 points per game with eight assists and 10 rebounds while captaining the Lakers to a first-place Western Conference finish. Los Angeles cruised to a 52-19 regular season record behind their two star players.
The title clinch capped one of the strangest seasons the NBA has ever seen. The COVID-19 pandemic halted the regular season near its end and soon left teams and fans in the middle of a 141- day hiatus. Play resumed on July 30 in Orlando with “The Bubble.” The Bubble included 22 of 30 NBA teams playing eight games to conclude the regular season before the playoffs began. All games took place in Orlando with no fans present. Once teams advanced to the second round of the playoffs, player’s families were allowed in the Bubble and could attend games. COVID-19 protocol was practiced and testing was performed weekly.
James was named Finals MVP posting nearly 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 8.5 assists through the six games. LeBron holds four such awards, placing him second all-time in the NBA, behind Michael Jordan (6).
Opponent Miami, LeBron’s former team, fought hard in the series and managed to prolong it more than many expected. The Heat made a surprising run to the finals behind emerging star Jimmy Butler, a host of good role players, and experienced head coach Erik Spoelstra (four Finals appearances and two wins with the Heat).
The NBA should be applauded for pulling off this year’s Playoffs among such chaos. Pandemic and the fight against racial injustice greatly impacted the sport over the past few months. The 2020 Bubble proved to be entertaining and greatly competitive. Now, NBA fans look to the 2021 season. Let’s hope things are far more normal and we have the opportunity to attend games. Go Mavs!