It's certainly strange to see a team raising the championship banner from the prior season before a May game, but there has been nothing usual about the NBA playing the past two seasons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Los Angeles Lakers raised their championship banner from the 2019-20 season before Wednesday's game against the Houston Rockets. It was the 17th championship banner in the franchise's prestigious history, which ties the Boston Celtics for the most all-time:
The Purple and Gold waited this long because fans were not permitted inside Staples Center to start the campaign because of restrictions in place due to the pandemic.
While there is still limited capacity, there were at least some fans inside the building who got to enjoy the festivities.
The Lakers won that title inside the Walt Disney World Resort bubble after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed for months because of the pandemic. There were no fans, no home-court advantage and strange schedules, but LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Co. still prevailed by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat.
Winning back-to-back titles may prove difficult, as Los Angeles is currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.