Following a season unlike any other, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka thinks that his team's NBA Finals victory over the Miami Heat in the bubble at Disney World should be marked as separate from the others in the record books.
No, not with an asterisk, as Miami Heat President Pat Riley suggested, but with a "gold star."
Pelinka appeared on The Woj Pod with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski to explain his thoughts surrounding his franchise's 17th championship (h/t Silver Screen & Roll):
"I spend a lot of time kind of thinking through what lens you're viewing things through and for me, this one is 'let's count the blessings instead of the losses.' Like it's easy to think about 'oh, we didn't get to have a parade, or we didn't get to do this yet.' But to be able to have won a championship inside a bubble, and to be with the guys and the staff for 100 days in a row, also provided some extraordinary moments that probably future champions will never be able to experience because it was such a unique setting. So I try to spend a lot of time thinking about the parts of this championship that make it unique.
"I think some have [asked] 'will this championship have an asterisk on it?' I like to say 'no, I think it's got a gold star.' Just because you had to do so much more to get to the end, and I think it was just a testament to our team [and] the players and our staff coming together in that environment."
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo told reporters in July that the 2020 Finals would be "the toughest championship you could ever win," while Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks that the championship "should have an asterisk"—but for that reason.
Riley, who suggested that the Heat could have taken the Lakers to a seventh game were it not for injuries to Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, later walked back his comments.