Over 100 days in the bubble and zero positive COVID-19 cases (that were made public, anyway). In March of 2020 the National Basketball Association shut down operations due to the Coronavirus outbreak. As you recall it hit all at once, started with a positive test with the Utah Jazz and snowballed from there. I was not too optimistic that they would be able to finish the season. Boy was I mistaken.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, coaches, players and staff all united in having the season return and they decided to hold the games at Walt Disney World later in the summer. It worked. With no fan attendance, no visitors, no outside food deliveries; it worked. They were able to keep the restart of the season going with little distractions and no delays. The games were competitive and entertaining. The playoffs were full of drama and suspense.
Prior to the shutdown, the best teams in the league included the Bucks, Clippers, Lakers, Raptors and Rockets just to name a few. However, in the postseason the Miami Heat emerged as the Eastern Conference Champions, knocking out the Pacers, Bucks and Celtics to get to the finals. I know that the Bucks won the regular season series against the Bucks and gave match-up problems with a lot of teams but I truly had them as an afterthought in the east behind several teams. I will admit when I am wrong and the fact is I was really wrong. In the west it was the Lakers who would advance to the finals and ultimately took home the championship defeating the Heat in six games. The Lakers’ quest to become champions in 2020 began in the summer of 2019 when they acquired Anthony Davis. I remember the night it happened too. I was in Reno at Silver Legacy and was on my way to place a few bets for the upcoming NFL season. When the announcement happened that the Lakers acquired Davis, a mob of people rushed to the bookie cage and literally broke the system! No bets were taken the rest of the night. It was a storybook ending for the Lakers as they won the title 10 months following the death of Kobe Bryant.
I do not know what the NBA format will look like for the 2021 season but I must say that if they have to continue to play in Orlando inside the bubble, I am okay with that. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy going to Sacramento to see my Kings live, but if the pandemic is still going on by the time they start up, at least I know that the league will continue to operate.
Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.