Jay C. Brandriet
We know the world was interrupted with a pandemic a couple of years ago.
After a lengthy break, the NBA reconvened in a bubble in Orlando, Florida.
The Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th world championship, defeating Miami 4 games to 2.
In recent weeks, I’m hearing a trend in how some refer to that victory.
Is there some anti LeBron/Lakers angle to this? Sure.
That group is making it clear; this title should come with an asterisk.
Let’s examine that.
WHY THE BUBBLE WAS EASIER
All players (especially older ones) were refreshed.
Some guys opted out of continuing.
There was no crowd. It felt like glorified summer league.
The rim must have looked really big from the three-point line.
There was no travel involved.
However, there was no crowd and no travel for everyone.
The Lakers Avery Bradley chose to opt out as well.
WHY IT WAS HARDER
Those that earned homecourt advantage, lost it.
Though the environment felt more casual, the silence made the pressure palpable.
Technology has made the world smaller. These athletes could look at and talk to their loved ones on devices.
Not being able to leave the complex would be a unique mental challenge. It’s weird. Even though it’s their jobs, it seemed like a sacrifice.
THE FAIREST WAY TO JUDGE
How did you feel during the leagues pause? I wanted them to play ball.
I was cheering for the Miami Heat. Would I be sitting here two years later thinking less of Jimmy Butler’s victory and Finals MVP? No.
At the time, tons of people said the 1999 Spurs (strike shortened season) should have an asterisk next to it. Anyone here think Tim Duncan is not a legit 5-time champion?
Should the Lakers “bubble title” have an asterisk?
It’s the oddest way the NBA has ended a playoff run, but the answer is no.
Jay C. Brandriet