x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A '66-game' championship will not have the same currency

Does the 2012 NBA championship deserve an asterisk next to it because the season was only 66 games long? Phil Jackson says 'yes'. LeBron James begs to differ.

Asterisk? LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates do not want to talk about any asterisk being affixed next to their name should they win the 2012 NBA title in a 66-game season instead of an 82-game one.
Asterisk? LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates do not want to talk about any asterisk being affixed next to their name should they win the 2012 NBA title in a 66-game season instead of an 82-game one.

LeBron James was asked if an asterisk should be placed behind the name of the team who win the 2012 NBA championship.

This brings to mind the mental gamesmanship of the great Phil Jackson, who got under the skin of the San Antonio Spurs with regular observations that their 1999 championship, won after a 50-game season, was illegitimate.

Which, naturally, annoyed everyone in San Antonio, which upset Jackson, then coaching the Lakers, not a jot.

James's Miami Heat are favoured to advance to the finals, particularly since the Chicago Bulls lost Derrick Rose to a knee injury.

And James would have none of this asterisk talk.

"I don't think that's right to say," he said.

"Every team works hard, no matter if it's a lockout year or not. There's not much of a difference between 82 games and 66 games."

Ah, but there is.

Sixty-six games in four months wreaked havoc on athletes conditioned to 82 games over a leisurely six months.

Players never really got fit.

Many broke down with injuries.

Jackson, in November, indicated he was equally unimpressed with this shortened season, and he again called for the altered playing field to be duly noted in league annals.

"In reality it changes the complexion of how you play the game," said the man with 11 championship rings.

"You have to have young players and you have to have healthy players to win."

And then when it is over, put an asterisk next to it.

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