Lakersâ James dismisses âasterisks titleâ talks
LeBron James
AFP
Lakers’ James dismisses ‘asterisks title’ talks
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 12, 2020 - 3:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — When the NBA decided to return to complete its playoff run after the 2019-2020 season was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic, there was talk among fans of a possible asterisk to the season's conclusion — an important caveat to let fans know that this season was somehow easier than others.

Speaking to reporters after the Los Angeles Lakers notched their 17th NBA title, newly crowned Finals MVP LeBron James is having none of that.

After the Lakers muted doubts in their formidable matchups against the Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets, there is certainly no room for an asterisk attached to the Los Angeles Lakers' finals run, perhaps none of which could have happened without LeBron leading the way.

READ: Lakers close out Heat for 1st NBA title in 10 years

"One [championship] is not less than the other, because when you're able to put yourself in this position to be able to win a championship, first thing you start to think about is how much work you've put in over the course of the year. How much you've sacrificed, how much you've dedicated to the game and to your craft," James told reporters after the final game of the season.

"With so much going on inside the bubble and everything and us going into the unknown, it was kind of hard for me personally — once I got inside here, I said, okay, this is my mission: I want to win a championship; this is why I'm here," he added.

James, who became the first player to earn Finals MVP honors with three different teams, posted norms of 27.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game in a post-season run for the ages, per Basketball Reference.

Reflecting on the season, James, who won his fourth championship in 11 tries, lauded the NBA for making the season restart happen despite the many challenges that came with the global pandemic.

"I commend Adam Silver and the NBA, Michele Roberts, Chris Paul and everybody at the NBPA to make this happen and to make this work. I think we can all say from the social injustice conversations, the voter suppression, police brutality, to have this platform, have our players be able to unite like that, it's something that you will miss. You will think back on it," he said.

"I think one of the biggest things, besides the social injustice, all the things I mentioned, we had zero positive tests. We had zero positives tests for as long as we were here, 90-some days, 95 days maybe for myself. I had a little calendar I was checking off. But on a serious note, no positive tests. That's a success for everybody that was involved."

READ: Report: Lakers, Clippers vote to boycott rest of NBA season

The season restart came against the backdrop of sociopolitical unrest in the United States, which in the NBA bubble culminated in a number of teams opting to sit out a game of their playoff series.

Led by the calls of the Milwaukee Bucks, James' Lakers, who had been in the NBA 'bubble' since July, were among the teams that voted to boycott the season after the tragic shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers.

For other players, this only added to the mental strain of being in quarantine and away from their families.

"I think you wouldn't be human if you didn't have ups and downs in the bubble. At times I was questioning myself, should I be here? Is this worth sacrificing my family? So many things...So this was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind. It played with your body. You're away from some of the things that you're so accustomed to make you be the professional that you are. So this is right up there. I heard some rumblings from people that are not in the bubble, oh, you don't have to travel, whatever. People just doubting what goes on in here. This is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I've had," James said.

"I've never been without my family this long...[but] it doesn't matter where it is if you win a championship. A bubble, Miami, Golden State — it doesn't matter. When you get to this point, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world for a basketball player to be able to win at the highest level," James also said.

 

COVID-19 LEBRON JAMES LOS ANGELES LAKERS MIAMI HEAT NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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