Giannis Antetokounmpo: 2020 title will be ‘toughest championship’ ever
There has been some discussion about whether the accomplishment of winning this season’s NBA title should be devalued given the unprecedented circumstances in which the rest of the season will play out. According to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the perception should be the exact opposite.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar argued that the 2019-20 NBA title will be the “toughest championship you could ever win,” as relayed by Marc Stein of The New York Times.
The NBA is preparing to resume play with 22 teams on July 30 in Orlando, Fla., at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Following an eight-game “seeding” conclusion to the regular season — and a potential play-in tournament to determine the eighth and final seeds in each conference — the playoffs will be played under the traditional format.
Much has been made about how higher seeds will be prevented from the enjoying the benefit from any semblance of home-court advantage. However, all teams are playing under the same circumstances, and there has been some deliberations about how the league could provide top-seeded teams some kind of home-court advantage, as difficult as that may sound.
Antetokounmpo isn’t the only big name in the NBA to take the view that this season’s title will be a unique one, but not for unflattering reasons. NBA commissioner Adam Silver agrees, as relayed by Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Doc says Adam Silver told him that the team that wins the 2020 Finals "deserves a gold star, not an asterisk." Says the mental grind will be an incredible challenge.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) July 1, 2020
The same can be said for Rivers’ son, Houston Rockets player Austin Rivers.
I talked to Austin Rivers about whether or not this NBA Champion will have an asterisk next to their name. This was his response: pic.twitter.com/Pn1EuVLP7p— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) July 1, 2020
The NBA’s return-to-play plans are of course far from ideal, but the league is doing its best to ensure a level playing field for every team involved in the restart.
It could be argued, as it was by Giannis, that it will be incredibly challenging for teams — even favored squads like his Bucks — to put things together under such strange circumstances and figure out a way to secure the championship.