By Mike Patton
NABJ Black News & Views
The COVID-19 virus hit hard in 2020, shutting down businesses, jobs and it even closed down sports leagues. The National Basketball Association was in full swing and gearing towards the playoffs when the infamous press conference held by then Jazz center Rudy Gobert happened. He touched everything and became the first known NBA player diagnosed with covid in the NBA. From there, the league paused and no one knew when it was coming back. But in that summer, the league returned with an abbreviated end of the season and the playoff games played in a bubble in Orlando, Florida.
One team that was a contender for the title that season was the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The break came for them and they entered the bubble. Some worried that the team did not seem very excited. But as the playoffs came around, the Lakers turned it on and on Sept. 26, 2020, the Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets in five games, clinching their first NBA Finals berth in 10 years. It was their 32nd Finals appearance, the most in NBA history.