There is no way we’re going to look back on the 2020 NBA title in a decade and think, “what a fluke that a LeBron James team won a title.” Nobody sane is trying to put an asterisk on the Lakers title from the Orlando bubble, and that includes Pat Riley, who is good with it.
Vogel told Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group his team earned that ring, and there should be no asterisk for the Lakers because his team was the best able to adapt to the strange bubble environment.
“To endure that type of intense pressure environment, where every detail is scrutinized, where the intensity was high,” he said, “to endure those meetings with no outlet of family, or whatever single guys would be doing, without an outlet, was one of the biggest challenges. It was a credit to all the participants to lean on and to support each other….
“It’s a really interesting time, to experience that double or nothing,” Vogel said. “Going from being quarantined at home to away from [his family] 24-7 was really a big extreme for me and my family, but at the same time I’m proud it was something we really took in stride.”
Vogel is spot on. Miami made it through the East because the Heat culture — led by Jimmy Butler in the locker room — was mentally tougher than any other squad. Same with LeBron and his veteran Lakers out West. Both teams were obviously talented and with elite players at the top of the pyramid, but what separated them was their ability to adapt to the bubble and keep playing at an elite level. It was mental, not physical.
And nobody is slapping an asterisk on this Laker title.