The Lakers are champs, LeBron reigns over all the land, and Cody is ready with the metaphorical outlet pass of perspective. Did you know the season lasted 355 days?! Let’s look back on the unparalleled journey we’ve all been on.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 National Basketball Association championship title. Now I hope we’re all caught up.

As I watched the Lakers celebrate on Sunday night, I was surprised by my own mixed reactions. I knew that I would be bummed by a few factors coming into the game. I do not like the Lakers. I will never like the Lakers. I have truly grown to appreciate how the Miami Heat play basketball. I love their action. I love their selfless commitment to winning and I knew that I would be sad to see them bow out. Especially with the injuries that plagued them in this series. They never really had their full complement of weapons. I also wanted to watch a Finals game 7. Game 7s are awesome.  I knew all of this going in. What surprised me was how interested I was in the stories unfolding right before me. My mind immediately launched into retrospective mode.

LeBron James is incredible. He had a 28 point, 14 rebound, 10 assist, 1 turnover, line in 41 minutes to clinch his 4th title on three different teams—and it felt routine. Predetermined. He is so remarkable that the historic feels commonplace. I’ve only seen him play in person one time and I remember being blown away by how in control he was. His stats seemed to be running on a taxi meter. They just kept piling up and yet he barely appeared to be exerting himself. This series, you could see the effort more than ever before. You could see the changes in his athletic ability and the times he got tired. Despite all of that, it still felt completely natural that he would end up with that line. Congratulations to LeBron. By all accounts, he is a good person too, which means something to me. So I was able to look past the jersey on his chest and be happy for him.

LeBron James hugged Rajon Rondo. A lot. I was a huge Rondo fan on the Celtics. He now has his second title and he was integral to both in such different ways. I find that fascinating. He was the young buck going toe-to-toe against the greats with the Celts 12 years ago and now he’s the wily veteran doing all of the little things that sealed the series.

LeBron James hugged Anthony Davis. I did not appreciate how Anthony Davis left the New Orleans Pelicans. I say that from a fan perspective, not one where I know that this is a business and Davis should do what is best for himself and his family. And if he had wanted to go to Boston rather than the Lakers, I’m sure I would have had a different take too. Regardless of what I feel, this is why you do it, right? He left because he didn’t think he could win a title in New Orleans. He waved bye bye to Zion Williamson and headed West to La La. And here he is in the first year with James lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Congratulations to Anthony Davis. He’s an amazing player.

LeBron hugged Dwight Howard. Dwight used to be a perennial all-NBA player and played against the Lakers in the Finals as the best player on an Orlando Magic team. He finally got his title. But he contributed very little to this team’s success. In fact, they were so much better with him off he court that when Alex Caruso replaced him in the starting line up for game 6, the Lakers went from playing the Heat to a draw to annihilating them to the tune of a 30 point drubbing. The title still counts, though. He’ll have it on his resume when they discuss whether to induct him into the Hall of Fame. It is a lot easier to call him one time NBA champion Dwight Howard than one time NBA champion in a series where he wasn’t much more than a hockey goon Dwight Howard. Like it or not, his career now has its capstone.

So does the 2020 season.

What a season it was. Did you know it started on October 22, 2019? That means this season lasted 355 days. Almost a calendar year. With the pandemic stretching that time out like an accordion, I cannot even fathom what life was like a year ago. I wanted to refresh my memory so I did a little digging about what aspects of the NBA stuck out to me.

Some information that surprised me was recent. Some was ancient history. All of it made up the special nature of the longest sports season ever.

  • James Harden led the league in total steals and total turnovers. The poetry of that is quite special. Like a beautiful yin and yang. I take the ball, I give it back. We are all one on the basketball court.

  • CJ McCollum led the league in total minutes played. Nothing too remarkable about that, I just wouldn’t have guessed CJ.

  • Spencer Dinwiddie (Nov. 25), Carmelo Anthony (Dec. 2), and Norman Powell (Mar. 9) all were selected as conference players of the week. No one but their families will remember this. But it’s cool that they can bring this up at BBQs once those become things we can do again.

  • That POW award was given to Carmelo shortly after he finally got a job with the Blazers in late November. He ended up guarding LeBron James in the playoffs.

  • We all legitimately wondered if Pascal Siakam would slide right in as a Kawhi Leonard replacement when he started the season like a comet. Follow up: he did not.

  • The Knicks were supposed to be terrible after surrounding their star rookie with 15 power forwards who could not shoot. Follow up: they were in fact terrible.

  • Luka Doncic looked like an early MVP candidate. One month into the season he was averaging 29.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 9.3 assists. By the end of the season…he still could have been an MVP candidate finishing with 28.8/9.4/8.8. Look for him to really push for the award next year. Whenever next year starts.

  • On November 4, Phoenix beat Philadelphia to make their record 5-2. There were rumblings that they might be able to make the playoffs. When the league shut down, they were 26-39. After going 8-0 in the bubble, there is optimism in the Valley of the Sun once again.

  • Many folks speculated that if Ben Simmons could keep opponents honest by shooting a few threes, he would be truly unstoppable. He attempted 7 and made 2. To be honest, I was surprised it was that many.

  • People thought Nicola Jokic was fat at the start of the year. He lost weight. The Nuggets had a chance to go to the Finals. Where will his weight go next year? Tune in next on NBA on the E! Network!

  • Speaking of hefty gentlemen, Zion Williamson was going to be a tidal wave force on the Association. He only played 24 games, making him more like a small creek of force. (He was still awesome when he did play).

  • The All-Star game tweaked it’s rules to add the Elam Ending. This meant that they played to a certain point value in the end and not on a time limit. The game was incredible. It ended on an Anthony Davis free throw. That was less Incredible, but still. It was the most entertaining All-Star game in years. The foul was off a pass from LeBron. We call that foreshadowing.

  • I want to give Kevin O’Connor of credit. He wrote in December about Miami’s positionless basketball and accelerated rebuild. He said they weren’t a championship team, but they weren’t far off. It turned out to be pretty true.

Those were some tidbits that jumped out at me about the 2020 season. Obviously the big takeaway was that the NBA pulled off Bubble Basketball with no positive tests. The basketball was amazing for the most part. The participants were safe. A resounding success. It could not have arrived at a better time as a fan struggling through the pandemic, as well.

Do not fear faithful followers, just because the season is over, we’re not changing the domain name. There will still be hoops content coming at you. Thanks for showing up