As the National Basketball Association (NBA) bubble season came to a close, fans were treated to a refreshing finals series between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. While many were able to foresee Lebron James and Anthony Davis taking the Lakers to the finals this year, the same cannot be said for the Miami Heat. The Heat were disregarded as yet another team in the East to be stomped out by the competition, perhaps finishing as the 10th seed at best. But the critics couldn’t have been more wrong. Set on proving themselves, the Heat took the 2019-20 season by storm. As they continued to assert their dominance in the league, what was initially seen as a team in a deep rebuild state ended up with two all-stars and a winning record. Led by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and a plethora of young talent like Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson, the Heat proved themselves worthy of being legitimate contenders in the playoffs.
Unlike the underdog story of the Heat, the Lakers had built their whole team around taking Lebron James to yet another NBA final. When the 2018-19 season fell flat for the Lakers, it was clear that the team was missing quite a few of the pieces necessary for a playoff run. During the offseason, the Lakers found their missing piece in the three time all-star center Anthony Davis. Even with this powerful duo at the helm, many analysts and critics of the league began to doubt the Lakers’ ability to stack up against other teams with greater depth, such as the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship on October 11, making it the franchise’s 17th Larry O’Brien and Lebron James’ fourth ring. While the Heat were able to steal two wins in the series, the Lakers’ overpowering size and skill proved to be too much for their young roster.
During a time of chaos and unpredictability following the COVID-19 pandemic, it seemed like a far-fetched goal to be able to complete this year’s NBA season. However, against all odds, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, pulled off a successful playoff and championship for the 2020 season within the Orlando Bubble.
While it may not come as a surprise that a professional sports league seeks to continue making money through television broadcasts, the fact that the NBA handled the pandemic with such competence and preparedness came as a shock to the whole world. It’s easy to restart a sports league during a pandemic, but it’s difficult to maintain health protocols and player safety as seen with both the Major League Baseball (MLB) and National League Football (NFL) startups.