Victory over adversity

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The Toronto Raptors celebrate their NBA championship win last season. (Photo by: Roozbeh Rokni)

The NBA’s ‘bubble’ is well and truly underway, and it’s only a matter of hours before players do battle on the courts of Orlando.

Stirring news if you’re an NBA fan.

Much has been made of the oddity of this NBA season as a result of COVID-19, and whether or not an NBA championship triumph in 2020 is insignificant compared to previous years?

I counter this with the argument that a 2020 championship win is one of the most courageous in history.

The NBA’s Orlando bubble is a very unique proposition, it’s something we have never seen before.

And in a way, it’s kind of refreshing.

Now I’m not for a minute suggesting that it’s a welcome change, it’s a far cry from the emotion and fanaticism that an NBA playoff game at venues such as Staples Center in Los Angeles or the TD Garden in Boston bring – but I’m finding it enlivening.

It’s the world’s best basketball teams and players isolating themselves off from the rest of the world, and going to battle.

Living with your competitors, seeing more of your opponent’s game, before looking to dismantle them and send them packing, in the hope that you stay and reign supreme.

There’s no traditional home court advantage, it’s just pure basketball, and a title win in that environment would be a triumph of great magnitude.

The fact that it’s been nearly five months since Rudy Gobert tested positive to the virus, and the last NBA game was played, makes it incredibly challenging for any NBA team to essentially pick up from where they left off prior to the suspension of the season.

There are so many variables that have been presented as a result of the substantial layoff teams have had to endure.

Continuity in a league like the NBA is incredibly important in having a successful season, team chemistry is built upon, and every team wants to hit the playoffs in strong form with team morale high.

Any team that enters the playoffs as a low seed has to outperform teams that were better than them during the regular season, and to do that is a sizeable achievement.

Alternatively, I believe a title win from a high seed such as the Lakers or Bucks will be just as impressive, given that they’ve been able to reset and come again despite having any sort of earlier season momentum completely decimated.

You could argue that every team has had to endure the same process, so why does it make it a braver win than any other year?

Because this season has had the most challenges of any other NBA season in the league’s history, and the team that wins will be the only team that has well and truly overcome all of these.

It’s one of the most difficult conclusions to an NBA season as far as predicting an eventual champion goes – but it will be a brave champion nonetheless.

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