Courtesy of Luke Harold.
This year has been a surprising one for virtually anybody, and who can attest to that more than the National Basketball Association (NBA)? The NBA was one of the first major sports leagues to suspend their season, and that was a shocker to fans across the world. Nobody really knew what it meant, and even some players thought it would be the end of the season. But even through all the uproar, there was still one person with a dream, and that person was NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
Silver is arguably the greatest commissioner in professional sports today, and that makes sense. He’s fond of the NBA, and so much of what he does is in the interest of players, the fans, and the league. Look at how much more interesting he’s made the All-Star Game through it not being only East versus West, or how he has consistently supported the opinions of the employees in the league, as seen with the NBA-China controversy and the Black Lives Matter protest. As said in an ESPN interview “it’s both a team and an individual sport” in the eyes of Silver, and there is no better example than that through what was accomplished with the NBA Bubble.
One hundred days, 22 teams, and zero cases of COVID. The NBA managed to not only finish off a thrilling season, but they were able to do it without a single coronavirus case. The Bubble — as the NBA’s isolated campus at Disney World in Orlando, Florida would be known — was a multimillion-dollar investment by the league to help crack down on the virus and finish off the season safely. The plan worked incredibly well, and Silver showed that he could do a better job than most people when it comes to controlling the virus.
Silver isn’t the only person to be proud of in this year’s NBA season. The Houston Rockets’ point guard James Harden has proven once again that he will probably be the greatest NBA player to never win a ring. The Boston Celtics have shown that they can continuously sweep teams in the playoffs every year, as seen with what they did with the Philadelphia 76ers (I bet Joel Embiid is still crying about that). The Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokić is clearly the best center in the league, and Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler can drop 40 on the Lakers one night, while making them drop 20 dollars on a cup of coffee the next morning. “It’s really special,” said the Heat’s point guard, Goran Dragić, in a Sun Sentinel interview, regarding the whole Bubble situation. It’s really special indeed.
Even though this year’s championship team, the Los Angeles Lakers, have some of the most annoying fans in the whole league, they should be proud of their team. The Lakers were one of the most outspoken teams against police brutality during these last few months, and have used their platform to highlight that. The Lakers this season were stacked with veteran players (Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis, and Dwight Howard) so it was amazing seeing a lot of them win their first ring. And of course I have to bring up Lebron James, the current face of the league who consistently shows his basketball IQ is high and that he is one of the most versatile players in the league. Lebron James is one of the few players to win a championship with three different teams (unfortunately Danny Green has also done that) while still being able to spend so much time on his charity foundations. That is simply pure talent at its best.
In a time like this, it’s important to acknowledge the things that keep people going. There is so much more that could be brought about how much hope the NBA has given people in the world today, but that would be impossible to fit into a single article. To sum this up, it’s important to take a look at one of Silver’s core values for the league. As quoted from a New York Times interview “one of my most important responsibilities as commissioner of the NBA is to protect the integrity of professional basketball and preserve public confidence in the league and our sport. I oppose any course of action that would compromise these objectives.” That was almost six years ago, and Silver was referring to the issue of sports betting at that time. He is a defender of the league’s honor, no matter the situation. What a sport!