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"Can we stop talking about the ‘20 Bubble like it was the same as other NBA playoffs?" — George Karl believes "The Bubble" shouldn't be counted

It’s highly disingenuous for George Karl to dismiss the Lakers 2020 championship for several essential reasons he fails to mention.
George Karl and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James

George Karl and LeBron James

Former NBA player and head coach George Karl is the latest one to bring up the 2020 NBA Bubble and why it should be treated like an asterisk year. According to Karl, who tweeted his thoughts early Tuesday, the 2020 Bubble isn’t the same, and therefore it shouldn’t be treated the same way.

Why Karl is outrageously wrong

George Karl is the latest one among several executives and players to have discounted the NBA bubble. Just last May, another ringless player Patrick Beverley implied on national television that the Lakers’ 2020 title should be considered a “Bubble championship” and asterisk championship just because there were no fans in the stands in the NBA’s unique bubble setup that took place in Disney World, Orlando.

It’s highly disingenuous for Karl and Beverly to dismiss the Lakers 2020 championship for several essential reasons they never mention. Contrary to Karl’s belief, here’s the argument as to why the Bubble championship is as vital as the other titles throughout NBA history.

  • For one, the Bubble setup took place at an entirely fair ground for each team involved as there were no fans in the building. Do fans provide a competitive advantage in the Playoffs? Yes, but the fact that there were none in the Bubble proves it was an equal space for all.
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  • Yes, 35-year-old LeBron James and the frequent-injured Anthony Davis had a 5-month break to heal their bodies before the Bubble, but it’s almost important to remember that the same amount of time was given to all players involved. So, once again, the playing field was equal for everyone.
  • The Lakers were the top seed of the Western Conference in 2020, meaning they would’ve had homecourt advantage (since Karl and Beverley talk about the importance of having fans). If anything, not having fans on the stands after working all year for the 1st seed was a disadvantage for the Lakers, who were as excellent in the regular season (52-19) before the Bubble.
  • If the Bubble should be discredited because of its circumstances, why did Beverely’s Clippers not make it and instead choke a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets? Pretty sure it would’ve been the same way if it had happened outside of Orlando because the Clippers lost in the first place because they couldn’t adjust well enough to stop Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets.
  • The Bubble hindered players from their families, usual routine, and lifestyle; therefore, one can argue that it was even more challenging than any other type of Playoffs. Sure, there were also perks like not traveling from one city to another, but it’s fair to say that the situation was harder, especially since the world was in the middle of the pandemic while social injustices issues were ongoing. Mental health concerns were real (just ask Beverely’s teammate Paul George).

The Lakers-LeBron tax

There’s a resounding theory amongst Lakers and LeBron fans that maybe the reason why the likes of Karl continue to discredit the NBA Bubble is that the LeBron-led Lakers won the title that year. Think about it: What if Jokic’s small-market Nuggets won the title instead? Maybe Denver wouldn’t get the reception the Lakers continue to receive for their 2020 NBA title.

Nevertheless, the Bubble title will always count and be solidified as the Lakers’ 17 championship that now hangs in their arena full of banners. So whether Karl and Beverely like it or not, the 2020 Playoffs will always be part of the NBA’s rich history, not an asterisk one. 


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