Editor’s note: This is the Wednesday, July 21 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.
The images of the Lakers’ 2020 title still feel so clear, and some of them were familiar as the Milwaukee Bucks wrapped up their first NBA title since 1971: There will always be championship shirts and hats, and goggles for champagne celebrations, and the hoisting of trophies into the air.
But the context of winning in one’s own home felt so different, and in a way, reviving. While it might not be on its face safe for some 65,000 Milwaukee residents to be celebrating in the streets en masse, it was understandable after a year-and-a-half of caution, of fear, of confined isolation. It’s still clear, too, in my head, the smoke drifting from LeBron James’ cigar last October as he savored his fourth career championship with his third franchise. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 10 years his junior playing for the team that drafted him, spit after taking an ill-advised inhale – the taste ending the season on top is still new to him.
In one sense, the NBA is back – back in home markets, back in front of crowds, rising back to its former popularity with less existential worries about the pandemic, presidential elections and other challenges that made basketball seem small by comparison. In other ways, Milwaukee triumphing over the…