In a year met with much ad-versity, one of the bright lights of the year has been the NBA Finals. This year, the Western Confer-ence champion Los Angeles Lak-ers competed against the Eastern Conference champions Miami Heat.
Veteran talents such as Lebron James, Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo faced off against the sur-prise powerhouse team consisting of the likes of Jimmy Butler, Ty-ler Herro and Bam Adebayo. The intense series came to an end on Oct. 11 when the Lakers defeated the Heat 106-93 to win the series 4-2 and hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The Lakers were heavily fa-vored to win the championship. In Round 1 they sped past the Portland Trail Blazers going 4-1, took down the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals 4-1 and brought the run of the Den-ver Nuggets to a screeching halt by going 4-1 in the Western Con-ference Finals.
The Heat were formidable foes, however. Seeded fifth in the East-ern Conference and not having won a championship since 2013 or having made a finals appear-ance since 2014, they were heavily unexpected to last for as long as they did in the playoffs, but they defied the odds.
They swept the Indiana Pacers in the first round 4-0, defeated the favored Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 in the conference semifinals and emerged victorious over the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Lakers’ victory marked their 17th championship win, ty-ing them with the Boston Celtics for the most all-time champion-ships won by a single team.
The Heat’s Tyler Herro, at the ripe old age of 20, became the youngest player ever to start an NBA Finals game.
The Lakers’ Rajon Rondo be-came just the second player in NBA history to win a champion-ship with both the Lakers and the Celtics. LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to win a Finals MVP award with three franchises, having won with the Heat in both 2012 and 2013, the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 and the Lakers this year.
This is the fourth NBA Finals MVP of his career, now only trail-ing Michael Jordan by two for the all-time record.
The players, coaches and other personnel of the two teams need-ed to take all precautions neces-sary in order to play during the pandemic. The playoffs officially began on Aug. 17, but the season itself resumed on July 31 in order to properly seed teams that were on the brink between making playoffs and missing them.
As a result, the teams competing in the playoffs had to remain at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World, Florida, for nearly three months.
The championship ended in a bittersweet fashion, with the Lakers’ win being in honor of the five time NBA champion and former MVP Kobe Bryant, who had played his entire career with the Lakers and tragically passed away in January of this year. De-spite the hardships with the pan-demic, the Lakers brought their Mamba Mentality to win for the 17th time in franchise history, and the Heat made a tremendous run with a young team that is sure to have a promising future.