The NBA has had to take unprecedented action in effort to finish out the 2019-20 season in a bubble environment at the Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The health risks involved and the timing of the season restart has spurred several players from the 22 teams to bow out while efforts are being made to combat racial injustice. This has resulted in some debate within NBA circles regarding whether or not the value of this year’s championship has been diminished by the circumstances of the truncated season.
Shaquille O’Neal is among those that lobbied for the NBA to scrap the season because there would be an asterisk involved with winning a title after all that has transpired. Meanwhile, players like Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo and Los Angeles Lakers guar Quinn Cook believe their efforts should be magnified considering what the victors had to overcome up to this point.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel doubled down on Antetokounmpo’s stance regarding the challenges teams have had to face just to emerge as champions. “It’s interesting he said that, because that’s exactly how I feel about it,” Vogel began.
“In particular for our team. Our team has been through a lot this year, and we’ve endured and come out strong each time we faced adversity. I don’t know about other teams, but if we’re able to come through all of this and achieve the ultimate prize, I do think it deserves a harder-than-ordinary asterisk, if you’re going to put an asterisk on it.
“I don’t think it weakens it all. I think it only strengthens that you were a team that got it rolling when you entered into a hiatus and came back and were able to pick back up and finish the job. If anyone is going to put an asterisk next to it, I think it’s a harder-than-usual or harder-than-ordinary asterisk more than the other way around”
Vogel’s comments ring especially true for the Lakers considering they had been clicking on all cylinders heading into the final stretch of the season. The fact that they will no longer get to enjoy all the perks that come with being the top seed in the Western Conference only solidifies this notion due to the lack of home-court advantage.
The situation could create a unique edge for teams that manage to get acclimated quickly while others struggle to shake the rust off from the hiatus. As such, the opinions regarding the outcome of this season could hinge on the overall performance of the spectacle and how it compares to previous years.
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