The 2020 NBA Championship is Toughest Title Ever

By Stephen Douglas
LeBron James versus the Miami Heat.
LeBron James versus the Miami Heat. / Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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The 2020 NBA Championship should have an asterisk. And that asterisk should denote awesomeness. No other team has ever been through so much just to win a title. No other team has ever faced such unique circumstances. And no other postseason was ever played on a truly neutral court. If anything, this might be the only legitimate NBA championship.

Kevin Durant was on Joe Budden's podcast earlier this week and made the argument for this year's bubble champion being "more respected" because of the circumstances they're facing.

"“I think it will be respected for sure. Probably more respected. It’s tough for the boys in there. They’ve been away from everybody for that long. To be the last one standing? That’s going to be tough.""

Kevin Durant

That's Kevin Durant. A former MVP and two-time champion. He knows that the Heat and Lakers have had to make incredible sacrifices to get this far. By the time the NBA Finals are over, they've been living in a hotel, getting things stuck up their nose, and separated from most of their friends and families for over three months.

This should outweigh any previous difficulties teams have dealt with on a championship run. If you want, you can look at pretty much any NBA champion and make an argument that it shouldn't count. Just look at the last few Finals.

2019 - Toronto Raptors

The Raptors faced a depleted Golden State Warriors team. Klay Thompson got hurt and Durant played 12 minutes. Plus, the title was won in Canada so with the exchange rate, it's already worth less.

2018 - Golden State Warriors

The Cavaliers all but won the first game of the series before George Hill missed a free throw and J.R. Smith made a meme. That caused LeBron James to break his hand punching something.

2017 - Golden State Warriors

After winning 73 games, the Warriors signed Kevin Durant. Come on. Who does that?

2016 - Cleveland Cavaliers

Draymond Green was baited into punching his good friend LeBron James in the bathing suit area and was then suspended, allowing the Cavaliers to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Sounds pretty rigged.

2015 - Golden State Warriors

Kevin Love was lost earlier in the playoffs on a dirty play by Kelly Olynyk. Kyrie Irving hurt his knee and was lost for the series in Game 1.

2014 - San Antonio Spurs

The Heat were probably tired from being in their fourth consecutive Finals. That's not fair. And so on and so on.

There is something you can do to de-legitimize every NBA champion if you want. But whoever wins the Heat - Lakers series in the bubble? No way. Every game has been played at the highest level. On a true neutral court. It's just basketball. And when they walk off the court they all have the same outside distractions. And they are all heavy. The election. Civil unrest. A global pandemic and public health crisis.

No other champion will ever deal with all this again. Well, hopefully.

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