NBA: Does the 2019-20 championship deserve an asterisk?

NBA Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
NBA Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The 2019-20 NBA champion would not need an asterisk 

I have listened to so much talk radio and shows asking the same question: does this year’s NBA champion deserve an asterisk, because of the shortened season?

It is almost nonsensical to even ask. Sure the question is easy to ask in theory, but let any one of us approach any other teams headed for playoff contention and ask if their championship should count a little less because they had more time to rest. Let me know how that goes.

Look, I understand the hullabaloo. More rest should mean that your body is more prepared. You should be in game shape and have been practicing in order to compete. Just one problem, the entire world shut down and no one was able to enter a practice facility.

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You then might think well, if they cannot practice in the team facility then they can just buy a basketball hoop and play at home. Well, if one-third of the players live paycheck to paycheck and when you compound that with the risk of injury if they decide to practice outside of team conditions, they can ruin their chance for a bigger contract.

Because of that, the majority of NBA players are going to come into the newfound season incredibly rusty. That is perfectly fine because it puts everyone on the same page. No team will have an advantage, because they all went through the same things. You know what, that is completely fine. I would rather watch two teams who are both playing lousy than one team just beating up on the other because they were ill-prepared.

I also do not want to hear the excuse that the lack of travel could be another reason for this dastardly asterisk. With everybody playing in Orlando, no one needs to go anywhere. The health and safety of the players and their families must come first with the return of the NBA. If that means we might have NBA players sitting socially distant in the stands watching a playoff game, I will watch that.

When you think about it, you could make the case for many teams to have an asterisk next to their championship. The Boston Celtics won in 1986 because Ralph Sampson hit an improbable shot at the buzzer to upend the Lakers and move on to the Finals. Just a few years later, the Rockets would win two titles but only because Michael Jordan retired. The San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat won a title only because they had lockout-shortened seasons. The Golden State Warriors won in 2015 because Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were injured. Coincidentally, they lost to Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors last year because Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson ended up hurt.

That sounds ridiculous, right? Sports in general all factor in luck when it comes to winning. An unexpected event can give one team a leg up or completely decimate the other. Do all of those teams need to say, “We are champions….but only due to extraneous circumstances?”

Buzzer beaters, injuries, and lockouts aside, there has never been a situation like this. Not just in sports, but in human history. We live in a time where we are so desperate for sports that I bet if you are reading this, you spent your entire Sunday watching Tom Brady play golf in the rain.

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Sports fans around the world need this. There are no asterisks, caveats, or yeah buts. Whoever wins this year will be an NBA champion.

End of discussion.