Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ 17th NBA championship victory last month, CPP basketball players and coaches conveyed ringing endorsements of the team’s first title in 10 years amid an NBA season like no other.
“The Lakers deserve this championship,” senior guard Phoenix Shackleford said. “This is possibly the best version of basketball we may have ever seen because the only option players had was to hoop. No distractions.”
Shackleford, his teammates and coaching staff have acknowledged this year’s champions and recognize the consistent intensity put forward by NBA’s players during the altered season.
Regardless of what inspired the Lakers’ efforts while playing, the return of professional basketball energized a nation of fans who viewed the bubbled battlegrounds.
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in a best of seven series. Led by the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers reached this championship after outperforming the Heat 106-93 in game six. James was awarded NBA Finals’ MVP and in his championship speech he addressed the sacrifice endured by all participants of the bubbled season.
“It was great just to have basketball back,” men’s basketball Assistant Coach Matt Okada said. “With no travel involved, I thought everybody played with a lot more energy.”
The coined “NBA Bubble” was introduced in July as a means of allowing the season to continue while ensuring players and staff safety from the virus. Teams were isolated at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida to finish off the final eight games of the season as well as the NBA playoffs.
“The bubble was an excellent solution to the problem at hand,” sophomore forward Demetrius Williams said. “NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did a great job creating and reinforcing a plan that favored the safety of the players. Factors such as frequent COVID tests, a reduced number of teams and close monitoring of the players helped the effectiveness of the plan. In the end, the efforts by Silver and his staff led to zero positive COVID tests in the bubble.”
This championship manifested itself as a positive social impact for Lakers fans of CPP. This achievement by the LA team served as a silver lining for many who have dealt with the rigor of a shift to virtual lifestyle.
“It is a bright spot in the dark world we are living in today, so I can guarantee it probably has bumped up the spirits of all Lakers fans on this campus, and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” Assistant Athletics Director of Communications Tyler Lobe said.
(Feature image courtesy of Olivier Collet)
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