NBA Season In Review

NBA+Season+In+Review

Michael Tipton

The lengthiest NBA season ever has come to a close with the Los Angeles Lakers crowned as champions. The NBA became the first professional sports league to postpone its season on March 11, 2020. Months later, commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA had plans for a 22-team bubble environment at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. It was nothing but basketball at the Magic Kingdom, and even without fans cheering them on, the players still shined under the bright lights. This season was unique in its own way and will certainly go down in history. Here are some highlights from the 2019-2020 season:

During the offseason, one of the most prestigious franchises in sports history, the Los Angeles Lakers, traded for a power forward, Anthony Davis. Paired with LeBron James, the Lakers were ready to break their 6-year playoff drought and contend for a title. That move was countered by the cross-town rival Los Angeles Clippers when they signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George. The two premier teams in L.A. were set to face off in the “battle of L.A.”

Another contender, the Houston Rockets, made a move of their own, trading away all-star point guard Chris Paul to reunite two former MVPs: Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

A month and a half into the season, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons made a three-pointer, much to the astonishment of fans everywhere. 

On Jan. 1, 2020, David Stern, former NBA commissioner who oversaw the most successful period in league history, died at the age of 77. Before Stern took over in 1984, the league was laden with drug problems and financial issues, along with declining viewership numbers. When he came in, he implemented strict drug policies and improved the image of players by having them suit up before games. The year he came in was also critical for the NBA because of the players who came in through the draft. This draft class had a crop of NBA legends including John Stockton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and most notably Michael Jordan.

Twenty-one days later, Zion Williamson, the first overall draft pick in 2019, made his debut and stunned the world with four three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

On Jan. 25, LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, moving to number three overall. Bryant tweeted “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother.”

The very next day, on Jan. 26, the sports world was shocked as Bryant, and eight other passengers including his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash caused by pilot error in foggy conditions en route to a youth basketball tournament. Many fans were in shock from losing an icon who was just starting his post-basketball life. Bryant left behind three daughters and his wife Vanessa. Many celebrities, athletes, and teams paid their tributes to Kobe.

On Jan. 31, the Lakers held a ceremony honoring Kobe, his daughter and the other victims before their first game since his death. 

On March 9, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert touched all of the microphones in front of him at a press conference, mocking the NBA’s physical distancing rule. Two days later, he tested positive for the coronavirus and the NBA postponed its season.

On June 4, the NBA Board of Governors approved a 22-team format to resume the 2019-2020 season on July 31.

On July 11, 76ers rookie guard Matisse Thybulle posted a YouTube video called “Welcome To The Bubble – Day 1.” The vlog highlighted what it’s like living in the bubble. The video amassed over 1.4 million views and a shout out from YouTube icon Casey Neistat.

On July 23, Clippers guard Lou Williams was photographed at a club on an excused absence from the NBA campus. 

On August 13, The longest regular season in NBA history comes to a close with the Spurs’ 22-year playoff streak ending, the Suns winning every game they played, and Damian Lillard going on a historic run to lead the Trailblazers to the playoffs.

On August 25, talks of boycotting playoff games intensified following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The very next day, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. The following day, NBA players voted to resume the season, calling for their teams’ owners to take action.

On September 3, OG Anunoby, forward for the Toronto Raptors, hit a game-winning three-pointer with half a second left in the final quarter to keep his team from going down 3-0 against the Celtics.

On September 26, the final Inside The NBA on TNT for the 2019-2020 season went live for pregame, halftime and postgame analysis. The beloved crew may be missed more than the basketball itself.

On Sept. 30, Despite all of Charles Barkley’s “guaaarantees,” the finals matchup between the Lakers and the Miami Heat was set for game 1.

On October 11, The Los Angeles Lakers finish off the Miami Heat in six games, ending the longest season in NBA history. LeBron James wins his fourth title and says that he “wants [his] damn respect.”

Now that it is finally the offseason, we can all say, “1…2…3… Cancun!”