San Antonio Spurs: The NBA bubble was undisputedly a massive success
The San Antonio Spurs took part in an all-time amazing sporting event
Regardless of how you feel about the final result of the 2019-20 NBA season there is no denying that we just witnessed something truly amazing. The NBA pulled off the incredible, and seemingly impossible, by safely gathering the San Antonio Spurs and the other 21 teams to the bubble in Orlando.
Consider this, the ’19-20 regular season tipped off on October 22nd, 2019. That means that we are just a week and some change short of the season running for a full calendar year. This is made even more astounding by what the NBA had to pull together to even make a championship possible.
Last night’s victory by the Los Angeles Lakers was the culmination of months of preparation and isolation by the NBA and its players. Let’s look back on how it all came together to put into perspective how amazing it was.
The NBA pulled off the incredible by bringing the Spurs and others to Orlando
Remember how it felt during the dog days of the seasons’ suspension when it looked like the season might never get the ending that it deserved? We were all hooked on The Last Dance and had to pass the time looking back on previous seasons in lieu of watching live basketball.
Then the incredible happened. The NBA announced a bold and unprecedented venture to bring players, coaches, and support staff to an enclosed environment at Disney in order to play out the remainder of the regular season.
And this wasn’t your normal end to the season. No, the NBA was going to switch things up by adding the fascinating wrinkle of a potential play-in tournament, throwing an exciting twist into every game involving one of the fringe teams in the Western Conference.
The proposed ending to the season was entertaining in itself but would the NBA be able to pull it off? For a while, there were legitimate questions about the safety of the bubble. COVID-19 cases were spiking as teams left their cities to head to Orlando. But the NBA was prepared.
Some 3 months and hundreds upon hundreds of rapid response COVID tests later and the NBA has pulled off what once seemed impossible – they finished the season without a single positive case appearing in the bubble. Perhaps the rest of the country should have been taking notes about what it takes to control the spread of the virus.
If the effort that it took to even make the bubble happen wasn’t impressive enough the basketball that we got to see was amazing in itself.
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Remember those first few days of the bubble when we seemingly had non-stop basketball day after day after day? The first week of August was nothing short of ethereal. From the new style of play from the San Antonio Spurs to the stellar run by the Phoenix Suns and Devin Booker, the play-in games themselves were entertaining as hell.
Then came the playoffs. These playoffs, in my opinion, were one of the best in recent memory. Maybe it was the basketball deprivation that made them seem more entertaining but the 2019-20 playoffs were electric from start to finish.
We witnessed Luka Doncic’s epic game-winner, an impressive seven-game series by Chris Paul’s Thunder, the collapse of both the Clippers and the Bucks, historic performances from Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray, one of the gutsiest playoff runs of all time from Jimmy Butler, and the return of the Larry O’Brien Trophy to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Not bad for a playoff’s that once seemed unlikely to happen.
And we would be remiss to mention the social justice initiatives that the NBA and its players put at the forefront of the entire spectacle. From the subtle details of the court and jerseys to the prominent suspensions of play in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, the NBA made sure to use the platform that the bubble created to draw much-needed attention to the multitude of injustices that need addressing across the United States.
From start to finish, the bubble that the NBA created for the San Antonio Spurs and the rest of the league was unlike anything we have ever seen before. And, hopefully, it’s something that won’t have to be used for next season.