From the moment the 2019-20 NBA season resumed in the Orlando bubble, basketball fans and analysts wondered whether the value of a championship won in such unprecedented circumstances would be put into question.
Many players and executives around the league said the title, eventually claimed by the Los Angeles Lakers, would actually carry even more weight due to the difficulty of competing in the bubble set. Among them were Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antentoukounpo and Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka.
Yet, Miami Heat president Pat Riley seemed to have suggested recently that “there was always going to be asterisk” to L.A.’s triumph. He explained that the outcome of the 2020 NBA Finals could have been different if not for the many injuries Miami endured in the series.
But according to the Miami Herald’s David Wilson, Riley has clarified his comments and said he did not intend to undermine the Lakers’ achievement:
“The asterisk is next to the Heat’s name, not the Lakers,” Riley said in a statement. “Their title is legitimate. Our loss has an asterisk (next) to it. The Lakers were the better team. Period.”
The Heat lost two starters, Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo, in Game 1 of the Finals. Both players returned later in the series but could not help Miami overcome L.A. despite a superb display from Heat leader Jimmy Butler throughout the series.
Jeanie Buss promises Lakers fans title celebrations will take place
The Lakers reclaimed the NBA title after a decade-long wait but due to the safety guidelines imposed during the coronavirus pandemic, they could not celebrate their triumph with fans on the streets of Los Angeles as they normally would.
However, franchise owner Jeanie Buss has reassured that proper celebrations will take place whenever it is safe to do so.
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