By Justin Lyons
LeBron James recorded a triple-double, dropping 28 points with 14 rebounds and ten assists, en route to his fourth career NBA title. It is his first with the Lakers, who are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the most championships as a franchise with 17 wins.
Though ratings for NBA Finals games were lower than in previous years, this brings closure to a successfully executed bubble from Commissioner Adam Silver. With players spending months quarantined in Orlando and no fans in attendance, the NBA was still able to complete its season despite a pandemic and a boycott for social justice.
James was awarded the The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award for the fourth time in his career, but basketball’s king had some help from his royal attendants. Anthony Davis scored 19 points and had 15 rebounds while the 34-year-old Rajon Rondo had arguably his best game in the bubble making eight of his 11 shots and scoring 19 points.
This obviously strengthens James’ argument as the greatest basketball player in history. Michael Jordan won six NBA titles and six NBA Finals MVP Awards, but with James on the books for two more years with the Lakers and Davis for another year and potentially more, the Lakers will look to compete in and lengthen the “LeBron James era.”
While accepting the Finals MVP Award, James said, “We just want our respect. Rob wants his respect. Coach Vogel wants his respect. Our organization wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect. And I want my damn respect, too.”
Well, if the perspective of fans and journalists means anything to James, it seems as though levels of respect towards him rose last night.
James hugged Davis while holding the MVP trophy and thanked Davis in his speech.
James called working with Davis “easy,” saying, “We want the best from each other every single day, both on and off the floor. To be able to put him where he is today, that means so much to me, and the fact that he trusts me means even more.”
Finally, he spoke about the NBA’s impact on social change while in the bubble.
“You hear Golden State always use the phrase ‘strength in numbers,’ and that’s exactly what it was. As the NBA, the NBPA, all of our players, everybody had a voice on what’s going on in America. We know we all want to see better days, and when we leave here we know we’ve got to continue to push that,” James said.
The loss in the finals comes in heart-breaking fashion for the Miami Heat, as three of their stars played most of the series at less than full health. Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo all faced injuries at some point in the Finals.
There are positives for the Heat, as Butler cemented himself as a player teams vying for a championship will want. Luckily for the Heat, Butler has three more years left in his deal with Miami.
20-year-old rookie Tyler Herro also garnered national attention with his offensive ability. He put an exclamation point on his playoff performance with 37 points in the fourth game of the Eastern Conference Finals.
There is no official opening date scheduled for the next basketball season, but Adam Silver said it is likely to begin in 2021.