By Ben Cooper | Writer
October 13, 2020
The 2020 NBA Finals arrived, in perhaps the most unique season ever, and the Los Angeles Lakers captured their 17th championship, tying the Celtics for the most in the NBA. LeBron James took home the Finals MVP and became the first player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three different teams. Some say this accomplishment and playoff run cemented him as the greatest player of all time.
The Lakers, who made their first title appearance since 2010, defeated the Heat in the series four games to two, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Although the Heat didn’t win, they have a lot to be happy about going forward. Led by Jimmy Butler and paired with young up-and-coming players, like Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, the Heat also have a max contract slot available, meaning they could bring in a superstar player in the offseason. The Heat, who were back in the Finals for the first time since 2014 when LeBron got them there, were expected by many expert analysts and basketball fans to miss the playoffs at the start of the season. “He decided to take his talents down to Miami,” former WNBA player Lisa Leslie said on Heat player Jimmy Butler. “Lights, Camera, Action. That’s what he wanted. Kind of a loser move to me.”
Butler proved the doubters wrong this season, leading the Heat to the NBA Finals while beating the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics along the way.
The Lakers’ performance in game six was overwhelming for the Heat. The Lakers led by 28 points at halftime and ended winning with a score of 108-93.
“I was speechless and just trying to take it all in knowing how incredible of a moment I had gotten to experience,” junior and Lakers fan AJ Nestor said. “I ran down the street screaming.”
“[I] was relieved, because when I started watching the Lakers they were the worst team, and now I am extremely happy because I finally get to see them succeed,” another Lakers fan, junior Haze Brawner, said. Diehard Lakers fans across the world shared these reactions, as we had seen the Lakers miss the playoffs for the previous seven seasons.
“This [title’s] right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve had,” Finals MVP LeBron James said after the win. LeBron was very emotional and excited to win his first title with the Lakers, the fourth of his career.
Anthony Davis was both excited and shocked when the final seconds passed and he became an NBA champion. “It definitely reminded me of it. Just the excitement – ‘I can’t believe this.’ I definitely saw myself in that,” LeBron James said remembering his own first championship and watching Davis’ reaction. “I know what it means to have seven years when you feel like you can’t get over the hump.” LeBron was happy to take on the mentor role for Davis this season, and he really pushed him to success. LeBron said later in the interview that he was playing the role that Dwayne Wade played for him in Miami.
Many people have argued and debated over who the greatest basketball player of all time (GOAT) is, and LeBron James and Michael Jordan are usually the top two picks. Some have claimed LeBron James as the GOAT after winning the title with the Lakers and breaking many records along the way. “He’s the greatest player the basketball universe has ever seen,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “And if you think you know, you don’t know. Until you’re around him every day, coaching him, you’re seeing his mind, you’re seeing his adjustments, you’re seeing the way he leads the group. If you think you know, you don’t know. And it’s just been a remarkable experience coaching him.” Frank Vogel got to see firsthand the greatness of LeBron James and how he can lead a team. LeBron averaged 29.8 points, 8.5 assists, and 11.8 rebounds while shooting 58.6 percent and making 39 percent of his 3-pointers in the finals.
“It means a lot. It means a lot to represent this franchise. I came here to put this franchise back where it belongs… for me to be a part of this is an unbelievable feeling,” LeBron James said later. “I promise…it’s my responsibility to put this [expletive] on my back and keep it going!!” LeBron said.