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Rob Pelinka: Lakers’ title merits ‘gold star,’ not asterisk

The Los Angeles Lakers were the last team standing in the Orlando bubble after eliminating the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for the organization’s 17th NBA championship. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, despite some skeptics arguing otherwise, believes doing so deserves nothing but acclaim given the unprecedented circumstances.

There was no shortage of chatter heading into the NBA’s restart this summer at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex that the the championship-winning team’s title would be tainted.

In fact, some have even suggested that the 2020 NBA title should come with an asterisk, although at least one prominent superstar strongly disagreed with such a notion. Pelinka argues nothing could be further from the truth, nor fair.

Appearing on the “Woj Pod” this week, Pelinka laid out how if this past season’s championship should have any notation at all, it should be a positive one.

“I think some have asked, ‘Will this championship have an asterisk on it?’ I like to say, ‘No, it has a gold star,’” Pelinka said, via SLAM. “… Just because you had to do so much more to get to the end, and I think it was a testament to our team and the players and staff coming together in that environment.” 

There have been many naysayers who would disagree with Pelinka’s assertion, and the man who oversees the Lakers’ vanquished foe in the Finals laid out a counter scenario.

Heat president Pat Riley recently raised eyebrows by suggesting this season’s NBA title should come with asterisk.

“They beat us fair and squarely,” Riley said after the Finals. “They were the best team. But there’s always going to be that asterisk, that caveat.”

Interestingly, Riley was referring to how the Heat was undermanned with both Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic battling injuries. That being said, Riley went on to say that this season’s title is as legitimate as any other NBA championship, and any asterisk should not be affixed to the Lakers.

“The asterisk is next to the Heat’s name, not the Lakers. Their title is legitimate,” Riley said. “Our loss has an asterisk (next) to it. The Lakers were the better team. Period.”